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Prince Charles and Camilla

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall enjoy an evening at the Royal Ballet


Northern Ireland Office

On Thursday, 10 June, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall had an evening out to attend the ballet. They went to the Royal Opera House to see the Royal Ballet perform “Balanchine and Robbins”, a celebration of the two lauded American choreographers. On Wednesday, the Duchess visited the Victoria and Albert Museum to see the On Point: Royal Academy of Dance at 100 Years with Dame Darcey Bussell. 

The dance and theatre industry has slowly begun to open up, and companies have been able to start welcoming audiences back to the theatres. The Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera have been staging productions for live audiences again at 40% capacity and also streaming their performances online. Since being forced to close their doors in March 2020, they have streamed 38 productions and different online content that has been viewed over 15 million times in 183 countries. 

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Charles and Camilla were greeted by Alex Beard, the Chief Executive of the ROH, Sir Simon Robey, Interim Chairman, and Kevin O’Hare, the current director of the Royal Ballet. They then took in the new production, which runs from 4 to 13 June on the Royal Opera House mainstage. It features two George Balanchine pieces – Apollo and Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux – and Jerome Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering.  After watching the performance, the couple met with dancers at a reception to discuss their return to work and the stage. 

As reported in the Daily Mail, dancer Mayara Magri said: “‘I cannot tell you how excited we are to have them here.” She explained that the dancers do need to wear masks during class and rehearsal, but they can forego them for performances.

“The Prince said how wonderful it was to be back seeing a live performance again, and I told him it was the same for us to be here, performing. It’s just marvellous and so exciting. It was such a pleasure to have them here.”

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The British Royal Family has long had close associations with the Covent Garden mainstay. The Queen is the patron of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet. The theatre was given a royal charter in 1892, changing from the Theatre Royal to the Royal Opera House. The Royal Ballet was given its charter in 1956, the second ballet company to receive the honour in The Queen’s reign. The Prince of Wales has been the patron of the Royal Opera since 1975, patron of the Royal Opera House since 2009 and has been President of the Royal Ballet since 2003. 

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Historian and blogger at AnHistorianAboutTown.com