The prince, without wife Princess Kate, attended a special evening raising money in the name of a late close friend

By Simon Perry
Updated December 02, 2015 04:00 PM
Credit: Jeff Spicer/WPA Pool/Getty

Prince William helped kick off the holiday season with a traditional festive evening in London on Wednesday.

William was among some of his closest friends, including Tom van Straubenzee – one of Princess Charlotte‘s godparents – for the special evening of Christmas carols in Chelsea.

Wife Princess Kate stayed at home with the couple’s children Prince George and Charlotte. But Kate’s family were well represented with the little royals’ grandmother Carole Middleton, 60, and aunt Pippa, 32, in attendance.

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William, 33, was there to help raise funds for a favorite cause, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund. The charity, which uniquely has both William and his brother Prince Harry as patrons, was set up in memory of their friend and Tom’s brother, who died in a car crash in 2002.

“We are both delighted to be patrons of Henry’s memorial fund,” the princes wrote in the event program. “Each year brings with it more news about the progress that this charity continues to make. This is largely down to the generosity and support of donors, many of whom are here tonight at this, the seventh Christmas carol service.”

Before his death, Henry had been planning to spend some of his gap year helping at a school in Uganda, so family and friends set up the fund to support education and schools in the African country. It has grown to now support dozens of institutions, helping tens of thousands of youngsters.

Henry was in the same class as Harry at Ludgrove School, and the prince paid tribute to his friend at the annual concert in 2011.

The concert has regularly been attended by William, Harry and Kate, who went solo soon after her engagement was announced in 2010.