'Loud' Duchess shocked by singer
Published 23/11/2011 | 21:36
The Duchess of Cornwall was taken by surprise as she switched on a shopping arcade's Christmas lights when a man claiming to be from the council told her to stop singing.
The man, who told the shocked Duchess and assembled crowd of 500 shoppers in the Burlington Arcade, central London, that they were singing too loudly, turned out to be Howard Ellis from the tenor group Incognito.
A spokeswoman for Clarence House said: "This gentleman came up from Westminster Council and said 'you're singing too loud, you're making too many decibels - I don't want any more singing'.
"The Duchess's face was a wonderful picture. There was a definite moment and then he burst into this most amazing opera and it was just beautiful."
He sang La Donna e Mobile from Verdi's Rigoletto as the Duchess realised the joke.
Camilla, who was recovering from a chesty cough, donated a bottle of Champagne and cut-glass Champagne flutes from Highgrove to a raffle.
The evening was expected to raise at least £10,000 for DecAid, a national appeal for service charities that help current and former members of the Armed Forces who served in Afghanistan and their families.
The Duchess is patron of the charity, which is run by current and former members of the Exeter University Officer Training Corps, who are all aged under 25.
She told the crowd: "I'm a very proud patron of DecAid - young people doing their finest. They're from Exeter University Officer Training Corps.
"What a wonderful example of the youth of this country. If more people followed their example we would be in a better place."