Belfast Telegraph

Royal Variety first for Cambridges

Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding are among the stars who will entertain the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their very first Royal Variety Performance.

William and Kate are attending the event for the first time and will watch an array of artists including Demi Lovato, Dame Shirley Bassey and Bette Midler at the evening gala which will be hosted by Michael McIntyre at the London Palladium on November 13.

Comedians Jack Whitehall and Sarah Millican are on this year's line-up, along with musical theatre boyband Collabro, who won Britain's Got Talent, and TV presenter Stephen Mulhern.

Traditionally, the Queen has taken it in turns with the Prince of Wales to attend the show. It had been expected to be the Queen's turn this year.

But William and Kate's attendance is a demonstration of how the younger members of the family are stepping in to help the monarch, who turns 89 next year.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Duke and Duchess are delighted to attend the forthcoming Royal Variety Performance.

"Members of the Royal Family will continue to support the gala evenings. As with any other invitation, attendance by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will be assessed on a case-by- case basis."

The event is held in aid of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund, of which the Queen is patron.

The Royal Variety Performance dates back to 1912 when King George V and Queen Mary agreed to attend a Royal Command Performance at the Palace Theatre in London, in aid of the Variety Artistes' Benevolent Fund and its proposed plans to build an extension to its Brinsworth House home for elderly entertainers.

In July 1919, a second royal show was performed and billed as a post-war celebration of peace.

It became an annual event at the suggestion of George V in 1921, when the King decreed that "the monarch, or a representative of the monarch, would attend an annual performance in aid of Brinsworth House and the Variety Artistes' Benevolent Fund, once a year thereafter".

Acts in recent years have included Lady Gaga and chart topping boy band One Direction. Last year, Dame Edna Everage surprised Charles and Camilla by joining them in the royal box.

In 2007, the late comedian Joan Rivers swore 13 times in seven minutes at the 79th Royal Variety Performance which was attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

TV comedian Russell Brand once took to the stage to describe himself as "sh***er of the year" and joked about making a play for the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips.

The show will be screened on ITV in December.

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