Kylie dazzles Charles and Camilla with surprise concert
KYLIE Minogue dazzled the Prince of Wales and his wife tonight when she performed a surprise concert by royal appointment in London.
The pop princess sang three pared-down songs for Charles and Camilla at a St James's Palace reception to mark their Diamond Jubilee tour, which begins next month.
Ahead of the performance, Kylie tweeted "One is on one's way to St James's Palace" and posted a picture of a soldier on guard duty outside the historic building in central London.
Famous faces and dignitaries from the three nations the royal couple will be visiting - Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand - were invited to the event.
Among the 200 guests were comic Barry Humphries, soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, broadcaster and musician Rolf Harris, and former New Zealand rugby captain Sean Fitzpatrick.
But all eyes were on Kylie, who wore a stylish black evening dress and was joined on a stage by two backing singers a guitarist and pianist.
She is celebrating 25 years as a singer and has released her 12th album in celebration - The Abbey Road Sessions. It features 16 songs from her career, with new orchestral arrangements, recorded in the famous Abbey Road studios where the Beatles created their albums.
Before singing the Locomotion, she told her audience: "The big question is, are you ready to swing your hips now?"
She then told Charles and Camilla: "Bon voyage, have a fantastic trip."
The audience really got behind the much-loved Australian singer and Charles even joined in the movements for the Locomotion.
She also sang On A Night Like This and I Believe In You, and later described the experience as "terrifying but great".
After Kylie stepped down from the stage, she had a brief chat with the royal couple.
Speaking before leaving, she said: "It's been such a brilliant year to be in my home, the UK, and so to send the royals off on this trip it felt fitting to be part of the farewell for them."
Camilla has never been to Australia and the singer jokingly rebuked her, saying "naughty Duchess".
Asked about the highlights of her home country, Kylie replied: "Whenever anyone asks where should they go in Australia then I say 'What do you want?' because almost everything you want is there.
"It's such a big, beautiful country that I was glad to see (it) on the list of some of the places they're visiting - they're really giving it a good old shot."
Talking about the experience Camilla may have in Australia, Kylie said: "I hope she has a beautiful warm welcome. I don't hope - I know they will both enjoy the hospitality Australia offers."
The singer first found fame in the soap Neighbours, playing girl-next-door Charlene opposite Jason Donovan, who was her boyfriend, Scott.
She went on to launch a pop career with early hits including I Should Be So Lucky and Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi.
Her albums sold just as well as her singles and over the intervening years millions were bought by fans as she reinvented herself from cute girl-next-door to sultry diva.
Away from the limelight, the entertainer, who started her career acting on TV while a young girl, has inspired millions with her successful battle against breast cancer.
Other entertainment staged for Charles and Camilla included a cultural demonstration by a British-based Maori group, who performed a traditional Haka.
Rolf Harris said travelling 24 hours on a plane back to his homeland was too long a journey for him but added that the royal couple, especially the Duchess, would have a great time.
He said: "I'm sure she will love it, it's a fantastic country with a variety of things to see."
Comic Barry Humphries, best-known for his character Dame Edna Everage, joked about Australian Premier Julia Gillard, who caused controversy when she did not curtsey to the Queen during her visit last year.
He said: "They will have a wonderful time in Australia, if the Prime Minister can bring herself to curtsy."