Monday 26 February 2018

Dame Edna surprises royal couple

The Duchess of Cornwall with Dame Edna Everage during the Royal Variety Performance
The Duchess of Cornwall with Dame Edna Everage during the Royal Variety Performance

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall came face-to-face with a host of stars at the Royal Variety Performance in London - and had to eject one from the royal box.

The royal couple walked the red carpet and greeted singer Jessie J, Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television, and trustees from EABF, before entering the London Palladium for the annual event of the best of British.

But as they entered took their seats, Camilla appeared speechless as Dame Edna Everage turned up in the royal box.

The audience laughed as Dame Edna looked at her ticket and joked: "I'm so sorry, they found me a better seat".

The Royal Variety Performance, now in its 101st year, takes place in aid of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund (EABF).

Warming up the crowd host John Bishop joked: "Be merry, be happy and no-one be beheaded.

"Obviously if mad Harry was here it would be a different story."

The comedian welcomed Charles and Camilla, congratulating them on their new grandson, but warning: "Enjoy this because soon you will be babysitting."

The Duchess, who wore a Vivienne Westwood dress in petrol blue, watched on as the evening was kicked off with a lively performance by Gary Barlow singing Greatest Day and Let Me Go.

Figure skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean took to the stage in matching purple outfits, before h ip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks performed and H arry Hill treated the audience to a preview of his upcoming West End spoof X Factor musical I Can't Sing!

Making her Royal Variety debut, singer-songwriter Jessie J performed her latest single Thunder. Irish comedian Jason Byrne appeared on stage in underwear and a white vest but donned a suit jacket and bow tie to give his show.

US Grammy award winner Mary J Blige sang My Favourite Things from the Sound of Music, against a backdrop of white trees shrouded in fairy lights.

Olly Murs performed a surprise duet with Robbie Williams, singing the Jungle Book classic tune I Wanna Be Like You.

The last time the Prince and Duchess attended the Royal Variety in 2010 a protester campaigning against the rise in tuition fees attacked their Rolls-Royce limousine.

David Walliams hosted last year's 100th anniversary show in front of the Queen at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Speaking after the performance, Jimmy Carr said: "I love doing the show. The charitable aspect of the night - for the old showbiz types that fall on hard times - often gets lost in all the glamour and the glitz. I think Charles and Camilla were both pleased that I got away with it again."

Gary Barlow said: "Prince Charles told me he had a great night, and that it was a really good opening. I think this event can have a bit of stigma attached to it because of the ticket price. This is the fifth time I have done it and I always look forward to it."

Jack Topping, 11, who opened the show with a solo performance of the national anthem, said: "Prince Charles asked me if my voice had broken. I replied 'no, Sir.'"

Topping, who is a member of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Choir, also sang in front of the Queen at the Remembrance Concert in the Royal Albert Hall earlier this month. He said: "It has all been amazing."

British singer and musician John Newman said: "This is my biggest performance so far. Prince Charles congratulated me on my performance and said he hoped to see me again next year.

"He told me that he had been to the town where I grew up - Settle in North Yorkshire - to open a post office."

Dave Peacock, from the cockney and rock duo Chas & Dave, said: "Prince Charles told me that he wished we could have gone on for a bit longer. He asked how long we had been together."

Jordan Stephens from Rizzle Kicks said: "Tonight was fantastic, a career highlight to say the least. Charles was really gracious. He asked if we were busy at the moment. Camilla was also lovely. It was all a bit of a blur but a lot of fun."

Press Association

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