Prince Charles to send virtual message as Royal Family miss out on Royal Variety Performance

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in 2019. (Keith Mayhew/PA Images)

Prince Charles will send a message to a virtual audience at the Royal Variety Performance this year but won’t attend, as the show adapts to the pandemic restrictions.

Members of the Royal Family traditionally attend the event in person, with the Queen attending on 39 occasions.

But the show will have a virtual audience this year as it returns to the north of England for the first time in nine years.

Charles, 72, who hasn’t attended since 2016, will this year record a video message of support for the Royal Variety Charity, of which his mother is patron.

Money raised supports people in entertainment.

The show will be hosted by comedian Jason Manford from the Blackpool Opera House in the Winter Gardens Complex.

It was last held in Blackpool in 2009, and was last outside London in 2011, when it was held at the Lowry Theatre in Salford.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 24:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Royal Variety Performance at the Palladium Theatre on November November 24, 2017 in London, England. The Royal Variety Performance takes place every year, either in London or in a theatre around the United Kingdom. The event is in aid of the Royal Variety Charity, formally, The Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund, of which The Queen is Patron. The money raised from the show helps hundreds of entertainers throughout the UK, who need help and assistance as a result of old age, ill-health, or hard times. (Photo by of Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William and Kate at the Royal Variety Performance at the Palladium Theatre in London in 2017. (Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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The Queen last attended in 2012 with her husband Prince Philip, but in recent years the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have attended instead.

Acts this year include Captain Sir Tom Moore, who the Queen knighted in a special ceremony in July, who will perform his cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball.

Sheridan Smith will reprise her role of Cilla Black for a performance from Cilla The Musical and Samantha Barks from Frozen The Musical will also perform.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London, November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)
The Queen at the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012, the last year she attended. (Andrew Winning/Reuters)

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Manford said: “After appearing at the Royal Variety Performance three times since 2009, it is an honour and a privilege to be hosting the show this year.

“It’s been a hugely difficult year for everybody, so I hope that for a couple of hours on a cold winter’s night in Blackpool, we can take people’s minds off things and do what us Brits do best; have a laugh.”

Giles Cooper, chair of the Royal Variety Charity, said: “The Royal Variety Charity is thrilled that the Royal Variety Performance will be held in Blackpool this year.

“We have worked relentlessly to ensure that we can produce a Royal Variety Performance in some shape or form to raise much needed funds at this critical time.

“We are honoured that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has recorded a message of support for our charity, which continues to assist those from the world of entertainment, both young and old, since our formation in 1908.

HRH The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh during The 77th Royal Variety Performance - Show at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, Great Britain. (Photo by Terry George/WireImage)
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh during the 77th Royal Variety Performance at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in 2005. (Terry George/WireImage)

“In 2020 our grants scheme has continued to operate throughout the United Kingdom, providing financial help for those from the world of entertainment, in all its forms.

“The Royal Variety Charity is proud to have been of assistance to those working in the industry during this particularly difficult year.”

Last year Prince William and Kate attended the show at the London Palladium, where it was hosted by Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett.

In 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan attended the show.