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  #1  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:46 AM
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Royal Variety Performance

Later in the Year I am attending the Royal Variety Performance with my sister (her 18th Birthday present).

I was wondering if anyone else has been to it in years past and if so can you tell me what happens e.g. your arrival- do they take coats etc.?, can you see The Queen?, what happen's during the interval?, does everyone rush away at then end or wait around and mingle? How did you rate the actual performance?

Finally I know it's black tie so for me thats pretty simple lol but how dressed are the ladies: just sub white tie splendour or office cocktail party?

Look forward to hearing some of your experiences,

thanks!!
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:48 AM
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The Royal Variety Performance has declined in importance over the years.

When I was very young, the Queen and Prince Philip almost always attended, many of the female guests wore long dresses plus jewellery and the acts were often top performers. Over the years, Bob Hope, Julie Andrews, Henry Mancini, Joe Loss [a favourite bandleader of the BRF] Danny La Rue, Cliff Richard, Shirley Bassey, Kiri te Kawana, as well as contemporary pop stars have all performed. What they have in common is that they give their services for free. Mind you, the cynical always say that it does the artistes no harm as they get priceless exposure!

The event is a fund raising event for the Enterntainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund, and traditionally used to be known as the Royal Command Performance.

Over the years, the Royal Variety Performance started to attract 'show off' artistes rather than just high-quality performers, which led to a slight decline in the 'status' of the event, but what also contributed to its loss in popularity was its reputation for seriously overrunning.

The Queen and Prince Philip OR the Queen Mother traditionally used to attend, or, occasionally, The Prince of Wales with Camilla. The Sunday papers once carried a quotation, attributable to the Queen, who was allegedly responding to Prince Edward, who was complaining to her about the duration of some engagement: H.M replied that she 'knew all about that sort of thing, as she had sat thorough many Royal Variety Performances'. Of course, no one knows whether the story is really true.

I went to one such performance in the presence of the Queen Mother. This was around 1982, at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It is a very large theatre,with 4 tiers! There were a lot of contemporary comedians performing that night, as well as singers and dancers; after all, it is a VARIETY performance!

The form is 'typical' for most royal events. i.e. the audience arrives first; there is an opportunity to buy a Programme, which is relatively expensive [but still very affordable] as it is part of the fundraising effort. From memory, there was a message from the Queen Mother in the Forward to the Programme, reminding everyone of the work of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund. The message also carried a photo of Her Majesty and then brief details of the various artistes who were to perform that night.

We were then seated (from memory, we were required to arrive well before the QM) and then at the appointed time, Her Majesty arrived and we all stood up to welcome her, turning to face her in the Royal Box. This was so that no backs were turned on the Queen Mother. The National Anthem was played, and then we all sat down. [note: as I type this, I cannot remember whether the QM went into the official royal box or was placed in the first row of the stalls. I can remember going to a premiere at which princess Anne was present and IIRC at that particular theatre, the royal box was not used; instead the first row of the circle was designated a royal box, and I cannot for the life of me remember if the same practice did not take place at the Royal Variety Show.]

The Queen Mother was accompanied by her Lady in Waiting and a couple of other members of her Household and also sat with a couple of Charity 'big wigs' etc.

During the interval, the Queen Mother retired, presumably for refreshments and also for 'an opportunity to tidy', which I can inform you is the official royal phrase used for a roayol visit to the loo! Her Majesty then returned after the 20 minute break to watch the second half of the programme. Again, the audience all stood whilst she arrived. At the conclusion of the performance, we all stood again as the Queen Mother left the Auditorium. I believe that she then went backstage to meet the cast. We, the audience did not see this, and simply filed out, although we did of course see the Royal Rolls Royce waiting to take HM home again. The performance actually ran to time when I was there.

We did actually wait to see the Queen Mother leave, which, from memory was about 35 minutes later, although we did not get a very good view of this, because lots of people had been queuing throughout the whole of the performance [i.e. whilst we were inside] to ensure that they got 'pole position', which was of course fair.

Don't let anything that I have said put you off; you are sure to have a good night and at the end of the day, the money you pay for your ticket is going to a good cause, of which the Queen is patron. You will see the Royal as he/she/they arrive, when they leave and return at the interval and when they leave at the end. So that is quite a good 'ration' of royal viewing. The whole performance is also recorded by the BBC and you can then watch it again and try to spot yourselves in the audience, as well as looking again at the Royals as they arrive and leave.

For the record, I wore a long black velvet skirt by Pallant [who made a couple of outfits for Princess Diana] and a brightly coloured silk top from Harvey Nichols, together with Rayne Shoes. My evening bag came from Simpson. For the record, I still have all these items and can still wear the silk top; the skirt is, ahem, a little tight, as your humble Diarist has been a little forgetful when it comes to gym attendance. Most of the other ladies in the audience were similarly attired; my outfit was not as formal as it might seem, but it was long. Nowadays, I think that a lady could wear a short skirt [not a mini skirt, just 'not full length' and still pass muster.] From memory, people even wear evening trousers now. I would not quite do this: the old family rule used to be 'The Queen MIGHT see you!' i.e. so a degree of formality might be the order of the day.


Have a lovely time, and if I can give you one tip, although it is expensive, both of you should buy a programme. You can then insert your ticket inside, together with a copy of the Court Circular from The Times or The Telegraph recording the function. My programme is somewhere in my loft - unfortunately it will take me too long to find it at the moment, but I will look for it in due course.

Have fun and I hope this helps

Alex
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:50 PM
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I know for the last few years the Queen and the Duke and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have attended on alternating years. As Prince Charles and Camilla attended in 2010 and 2008, the 2011 show should be attended by the Queen and the Duke. They attended in 2007 (around the time of their Diamond Wedding Anniversary) and in 2009 (the Miley Cyrus fiasco) but then again maybe they won't go this year.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:58 PM
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Well Miley Cyrus could be enough to put anyone off attending again, lol. Maybe HM will hold off until the Diamond Jubilee next year.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:51 PM
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@ Daria...

@ Daria-
RH appeared in the 1981 RVP,( He was the MC on that occasion) and also appeared in the 1990 RVP, which was a tribute to the Queen Mother for her 90th birthday.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by roseroyal View Post
@ Daria-
RH appeared in the 1981 RVP,( He was the MC on that occasion) and also appeared in the 1990 RVP, which was a tribute to the Queen Mother for her 90th birthday.
Finally found this .

Those must have been great evenings. He has such manner and talent for telling stories, and is a people person through and through.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:52 PM
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I know I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diarist View Post
The Royal Variety Performance has declined in importance over the years.
When I was very young, the Queen and Prince Philip almost always attended...
Thanks for this, very informative!

I am used to more "grand" Royal occasions so this one may be a disappointment, but my sister wants to see the acts rather than a strictly Royal engagement.

She intends to wear a formal cocktail dress, I'll wear my dinner jacket.

The price of our tickets include a programme each, according to our letter. I do enjoy keeping these with my invites tickets and a court circular duly clipped out!

Thanks again and I'll report back when we have been to the performance in early December.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:04 PM
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I look forward to hearing how your evening goes. I admit to being a bit envious! Thank you in advance.
May I ask when the picture was taken in your avatar? Her Majesty looks fabulous in red!!! I also love to see her smiling!
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Royal Newbie View Post
May I ask when the picture was taken in your avatar? Her Majesty looks fabulous in red!!! I also love to see her smiling!
That pic was taken on HM's tour of N. Ireland a few years ago!
I agree with you- great photo! HM looks radiant in red! And no one can top her smile....
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by roseroyal View Post
That pic was taken on HM's tour of N. Ireland a few years ago!
I agree with you- great photo! HM looks radiant in red! And no one can top her smile....
Why thank you roseroyal!

Off to hunt down more pictures so I can see the whole outfit!!!
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:01 PM
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You're quite welcome, I am sure!
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Royal Newbie View Post
I look forward to hearing how your evening goes. I admit to being a bit envious! Thank you in advance.

May I ask when the picture was taken in your avatar? Her Majesty looks fabulous in red!!! I also love to see her smiling!
Quote:
Originally Posted by roseroyal View Post
That pic was taken on HM's tour of N. Ireland a few years ago!
I agree with you- great photo! HM looks radiant in red! And no one can top her smile....
Roseroyal your quite right, St Patrick's Cathedral Armagh on Maundy Thursday. I was at the Service but the picture was from one of the local newspapers. She look lovely and has worn the outfit several times since.
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:56 PM
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The Princess Royal will be in attendance at this years event in Manchester.
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:35 PM
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I have attended shows in London, Blackpool and Liverpool and will be attending the Manchester show this year. Like anything it has had to change over the years to keep up with the times.

The show continues to feature top performers albeit all acts may not appeal to all generations but there will definitely be something for all ages. Our party consists of 20 to 50+ year olds and we are all equally entertained!

It is a very glamorous evening - these days glamorous does not necessarily mean full length dress for the ladies but they all look gorgeous, long dresses or not.

Be prepared for a security check and the price of a drink during the interval which is very expensive. (Dare I suggest you take something small in with you).

A programme is included in the price. As regards rushing away, at one performance we the audience were allowed to view the 'meet and greet the performers' with the Royals, but in any case it is generally gridlock on the roads so rushing away might not be an option.

Depends where you sit as to whether you see the Royal. They don't always use a Royal Box as such and so we have been sat quite near to them.

It is a wonderful event with a unique atmosphere and I am sure you and your sister will thoroughly enjoy it.

Incidently, Peter Kay is hosting and I have heard it will be the last show the Queen will be attending.
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:00 PM
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I thought Princess Anne was appearing in place of The Queen or the Prince of Wales.
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
I thought Princess Anne was appearing in place of The Queen or the Prince of Wales.
If you look at the list of attendees at the bottom of this link Royal Variety Performance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia you can clearly see that The Queen is already marked to attend this year's show. Princess Anne has only attended the 1968 show, so I doubt she will ever again. Also, the past few years The Queen and Prince Charles have been attending in alternate years, The Queen attending the odd years (2007, 2009, 2011), and Prince Charles the even years (2008, 2010).
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:28 PM
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If you look at the list of attendees at the bottom of this link Royal Variety Performance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia you can clearly see that The Queen is already marked to attend this year's show. Princess Anne has only attended the 1968 show, so I doubt she will ever again. Also, the past few years The Queen and Prince Charles have been attending in alternate years, The Queen attending the odd years (2007, 2009, 2011), and Prince Charles the even years (2008, 2010).
The British Royals Message Board: Princess Royal to attend Royal Variety Performance

It was mentioned on the British Board that this year Anne would be in attendance.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:56 AM
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Anne can be in attendance with her mother there isn't anything wrong with that, the official royal calender only goes up to 9th December, so I'd keep checking if I were you because I can't see The Queen not attending nor it being her last show.
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:28 AM
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Well, at one stage several members of the BRF used to attend the Royal Variety Performance, so I suppose theoretically that there is no reason why more than one Royal / Royal Couple couldn't be on duty that night. Although I do think it unlikely.

I would speculate that since the Queen does not attend every year, 2012 might be a more realistic option for her and therefore I don't think that she and Prince Philip would necessarily do 2 years in succession. Don't forget that as well as 2012 being Jubilee year, it is also the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Variety Performance, and so I think that the event's centenary might well be a better bet for the Queen's attendance.

One thing is certain, and that is that Royal Protocol and his sister will have a great time with some guaranteed 'royal spotting'.

Again, have fun,

Alex
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