The first variety performance held in 1912 at the Palace Theatre, was attended by King George V and Queen Mary, and hosted by British theatre manager Oswald Stoll. Fast forward 101 years and the King’s Great Grandson, The Prince of Wales, is attending the 2013 performance with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall at the London Palladium, hosted by comedian John Bishop.
Upon their arrival to the Palladium, the Royal couple were greeted by musical genius, Lord Lloyd-Webber and pop star Jessie J, who famously had her head shaved for Comic Relief back in March this year. Another star to greet Charles and Camilla was Dame Edna Everage who, not only put on a performance for the Royals but surprisingly was sat in their Royal box.
Dame Edna was not the only one performing on the night, a string of stars were out in force not only to put on a spectacular show for Charles and Camilla but like every year to support the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund. Robbie Williams, Olly Murs, Torvill and Dean (on roller skates), Jimmy Carr, Gary Barlow, Rizzle Kicks, Mary J Blige, Harry Hill and Britain’s Got Talent Winners Attraction are just some of the acts featured on the night. Host John Bishop began the evening sporting a pair of giant hands and told the audience, “Be merry, be happy and no one be beheaded”.
The Royal Variety Performance which began in 1912, is a gala evening held annually in the United Kingdom and is attended by senior members of the Royal Family. As mentioned, the performance is organised on behalf of the EABF, of which Her Majesty The Queen is patron. The performance is recorded and broadcasted on television and by many is seen as a Christmas tradition being as it is shown either late November or early December. From 1986 to 2010 the BBC and ITV shared the responsibility to show the performance however ITV is now the sole broadcaster.
Her Majesty has attended the most performances, her current total stands at 37, her first being in 1949 as Princess Elizabeth and her most latest being only last year when the performance celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother comes in at second for her appearance count, standing at 26 appearances, of course from 1937-1951 she was Queen Consort and her appearances from 1952 onwards would have been as Queen Mother. Finally in third place is the Duke of Edinburgh who has clocked up 25 appearances. Many other senior members of the Royal Family have appeared, including King George VI; Princess Margaret; Princess Anne; Diana, Princess of Wales and unusually a one off appearance in 1922 from Queen Maud of Norway.
It is reported that the Royal Couple had a very enjoyable evening and a much quieter one than when they last appeared in 2010, where there car was attacked by protesters who were angry over the rising cost of tuition fees. Their last performance together was hosted by comic Michael McIntyre and included performances by Adele, Cheryl Cole and Spellbound.
This years Variety Performance will be broadcast on ITV on 9th December 2013 so set yourself a reminder and enjoy a star studded evening of music, dancing and comedy. Lets not just get in to the Christmas spirit but lets also get into the Royal Variety spirit too!
Photo Credits: ITV Pictures