It first enthralled readers exactly 175 years ago this week, and now the magic of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens has been given a royal touch. As the festive season gets well and truly underway, the Prince of Wales has brought part of the celebrated novel to life by recording an excerpt for a world-famous theatre.
Prince Charles read part of the journey of the Ghost of Christmas Present for the advent calendar of sound being released by the Old Vic in London. The Prince became its royal patron in 2018, the year the theatre celebrated its bicentenary. At the same time, a new partnership between the Prince’s Trust and the Old Vic was announced which will support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds gain experience through work placements at the theatre.
The famous lines spoken by Charles for the advent calendar are from the journey that the book’s main character, Ebeneezer Scrooge, takes with one of the ghosts sent to try and save him from his life as a miser. The Prince of Wales reads the evocative words charting Scrooge’s journey across land and sea as the spirit of Christmas Present shows him how much joy the festive season can bring.
”Every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it”.
‘A Christmas Carol’ was first published on December 19th 1843 and became an instant hit. The story of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the ghosts was such a runaway success that Dickens went on to produce a Christmas book every year for several years afterwards. ‘A Christmas Carol’ remains the most popular and has been turned into plays, TV series and films.
The Old Vic, which was named after the prince’s great, great, great grandmother Queen Victoria, has its own production of the famous novel this winter. Starring Stephen Tompkinson as Scrooge, it began its run on November 24th and will play until January 19th 2019.
You can hear the prince reading from ‘A Christmas Carol’ by following this link.