The 32-year-old royal praised the director and former BAFTA president, who died aged 90 last year, for being ''a leader with a vision'' and he also commended him for the ''passion'' he showed for ''nurturing, supporting and developing talent'' in a video message played during the ceremony at London's Royal Opera House.
Describing him as ''inclusive'', he said in the footage: ''I hope that everyone who watches his films and learns about him as a person will be encouraged to follow his example.''
Robert Downey Jr. also heaped praise on the filmmaker - who directed the 49-year-old star in his 1992 movie 'Chaplain', in which the actor portrayed titular character Charlie Chaplain - and admitted he misses the film great.
Speaking in a video played at the ceremony, he said: ''Richard has been very much in my thoughts these last months.
''It's so difficult to distill somebody you were so impacted by in a few words. I'd like to try - passion, equality, wit, service and family.
''That would be a start.
''As a director and mentor for the 25 years I knew him his passion was ceaseless.
''I'm sad. I miss you Dickie.''
Several other stars were also remembered at the awards last night include Robin Williams - who committed suicide aged 63 in August last year - Richard Kiel, known for his role as James Bond villain Jaws, and 'Ghostbusters' star Harold Ramis, who died aged 69.
Tributes were also paid to Gordon Willis, Gerry Fisher, Walt Martin, Dick Smith, Dora Bryan, David Ryall and Oswald Morris.
However, fans were outraged that there was no tribute for Bob Hoskins, who died in April last year and starred in 'Hook', 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' and more recently 'Snow White and the Huntsman' - and 'Drop Dead Fred' star Rik Mayall.
'Sherlock' star Amanda Abbington - who is married to Martin Freeman - wrote on Twitter: ''Bob Hoskins. I salute you. (sic)''
But others were slightly more frustrated with the omission.
RainiacDaManiac wrote: ''No Bob Hoskins in the #BAFTAs tribute to all those we lost in the past year? Not happy about that snub. No Rik Mayall either (sic)''
Gawni tweeted: ''Am I missing something or was Bob Hoskins not part of the #EEBAFTAs tribute Shocking (sic)''
daveharte tweeted: ''The #BAFTAs seem to have forgotten Bob Hoskins died last year.(sic)''
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