The Royal Variety Performance over the years

One IS amused! From jewellery-rattling toffs (at the request of John Lennon) to Dame Edna crashing the royal box, the Royal Variety show has been packed with hilarious moments. But the REAL stars are the regal ones, as these pictures show…

  • The origins of tonight’s  Royal Variety Performance date back to King George V
  • This year William, Kate and the Swedish royals will be guests of honour 
  • Don’t miss our brilliant new podcast, The Crown: Fact or Fiction with Robert Hardman and Natasha Livingstone. Listen now on Spotify , Apple or wherever you get your podcasts

It’s a unique event in which the finest performers of the day come together for one night of family-friendly entertainment with top-tier royals as guests of honour. 

The Royal Variety Performance is back – and this year will see William, Kate in the royal box, along with Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband, Prince Daniel.

King Charles will be at the COP28 climate summit held this year in the United Arab Emirates. If, as many suspect, he’d rather be in Dubai than listening to compere Bradley Walsh and the gang, he’s been too polite to say so.

The King will know that the Palladium jamboree has been very much associated with the modern Royal family, ever since it was first staged for his great grandfather King George V, and has provided a number of memorable encounters – not least the moment when Dame Edna Everage paid an unexpected visit to Charles and Camilla in the royal box.

The Queen Mother looks pleased by the depth of Sammy Davis Jnr’s bow.  Jerry Lewis and Tommy Steele are also backstage at the Variety show in November 1966

Queen Elizabeth meeting comedian Mike Yarwood – who died in September this year – following the Royal Variety Performance in November 1981

Queen Elizabeth II attends the Royal Variety Show at the Victoria Palace Theatre in May 1960

Some 152 million viewers worldwide are expected to tune in to watch the star-studded display on TV and online when it airs on ITV in December.

Headliner Cher will be singing tunes from her forthcoming Christmas album. She will be joined by pop luminaries McFly,  Paloma Faith and Rick Astley.

 His old Spice Girls chum Melanie C, will also be on stage, 26 years after her girl group told Prince Charles he was ‘very sexy’, kissed his cheek and pinched his bottom. 

After all, what is the great annual institution of the Royal Variety Performance without a few surprises?

 Even the first show in 1912 in which the legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova danced for King George V and Queen Mary at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue (which had been bedecked in three million rose petals for the occasion) had its moment of drama when Pavlova slapped her dance partner backstage, furious because she thought he’d received more applause than her.

 Since then many more moments have entered their place in theatrical history including the 1960 show – the first to be televised – when Sammy Davis Jr performed an electrifying eight-minute set. 

The Beatles made their irreverent debut on the show in 1963 when John Lennon asked: “Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewellery.’

History doesn’t record whether Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother, who were in attendance, did, indeed, shake their priceless baubles, but the Queen Mother is reported to have declared it, ‘one of the best shows I’ve seen’

 In 2013 Dame Edna Everage – aka comedian Barry Humphries playing his alter ego, the egomaniacal Aussie housewife – crashed the royal box and sat next to a terrified-looking Camilla.

 He only left when an assistant whispered in Dame Edna’s ear and the comedian deadpanned, ‘I’m so sorry, they’ve found me a better seat’. 

David Williams followed suit in 2016 with a rather more dismissive skit in which he dressed as an usher and berated the then Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for taking the wrong seats and called them ‘riff raff’. 

But comedian Catherine Tate took it even further in 2005 when, performing as her rude schoolgirl character Lauren, she asked the Queen: ‘Are you disrespecting me?’ and later added: ‘Is one bovvered? Is one’s face bovvered?’. To which, the late monarch smiled politely. 

. In 2014, Prince Harry’s pal Ellie Goulding also entered the RVP annals when she performed in a record-breaking 600 sq ft dress that took a team five days to construct, and needed five puppeteers hidden underneath it making it move during the show. And who can forget Kate Middleton larking around with comedian Michael Macintyre, to the surreal sight of the late Queen meeting the azure-faced Blue Man Group, and a scantily-clad Kylie Minogue? 

Here, MailOnline looks back at the Royal Variety Show through the years…

The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon pictured in the Royal Box at the Royal Variety Performance at the Prince of Wales Theatre in November 1963

Queen Elizabeth pictured with Welsh singer Tom Jones at at the London Palladium in May 1968

The Queen Mother meets Engelbert Humperdinck, centre, and  pop vocal trio Diana Ross and the Supremes after watching them perform at the Royal Variety Performance in 1968

The Queen dazzling alongside Moulin Rouge dancers at the Royal Variety Performance in 1981

Princess Diana floated into the variety show in a white chiffon Bellville Sassoon gown with an off-the-shoulder sheer ruffle overlay with her husband Prince Charles 

The Queen always had a bright and colourful taste in clothes that many admire her for, but this was certainly one of her boldest looks – when the Royal Variety Performance was at the Birmingham Hippodrome in 1999

The late Monarch pictured with Spice Girls, Geri, Emma, Victoria, Mel C and Mel B after the December Royal Variety performance at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre in 1997

King Charles shares a joke with Barbara Windsor and Kelly Osbourne backstage at the London Coliseum whilst attending the Royal Variety Performance

The Queen meets the Blue Man Group backstage following the Royal Variety in 2005 in Cardiff

The Prince of Wales meets Katie Price and singer Peter Andre in December 2006

Queen Camilla looks radiant in midnight blue for the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in December 2008

Queen Elizabeth II meets American singer Lady Gaga at the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool in December 2009

Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, jokes with Frank Carson ahead of the Royal Variety Performance in 2009

The pet-loving Queen greets Ashleigh and her performing dog Pudsey after the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2012

Queen Elizabeth II greets  Australian singer Kylie Minogue at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012

Catherine, Princess of Wales, looked excited to meet the host of the show, Michael McIntyre at The Royal Variety Performance in November 2014

The Princess of Wales with One Direction star Louis Tomlinson on stage as they attend the Royal Variety Performance at the Palladium Theatre in November 2017

Prince William with Rod Stewart in 2021

Catherine with British musician Anne-Marie after the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2021

Source: Read Full Article