The Duchess of Cambridge looked the picture of health as she and Prince William arrived to watch the Royal Variety Performance for the first time tonight – stopping to shake hands with a rather more casually dressed One Direction. Glowing in a stunning floor length Diane von Furstenberg lace gown, and her hair in a simple up-do.[contentblock id=1 img=adsense.png]
Kate – who is 16 weeks pregnant – seemed to be showing the tiniest hint of a baby bump as she and William arrived at the London Palladium. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were greeted by members of One Direction, who said Kate’s appearance gave little indication that she is nearly halfway through her second pregnancy. Harry Styles, said after meeting the Duchess: ‘I said congratulations on the bump,’ though he added that she ‘didn’t look bumpy’.
The royal couple chatted with the band about their touring plans – with Prince William promising he had been ‘keeping a close eye’ on the young pop stars. ‘It’s the most nervous I think I’ve ever been in my life,’ band member Liam Payne said. Louis Tomlinson said he feared he had made a serious faux pas. ‘I didn’t say ma’am,’ he said, as the royal couple made their way into the theatre. ‘I said – Hi. How are you? I’m Louis.’ Payne joked: ‘So he’s off to a bad start.’The band was due to take to the stage this evening, along with Bette Midler, Ed Sheeran and the couple’s wedding singer, Ellie Goulding. Simply Red, whose frontman Mick Hucknall was one of the favourite artists of William’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, was also due to perform.
There were big laughs from the audience as Kate’s old schoolmate, comedian Jack Whitehall, joked about how his mother was disappointed he had not snapped the former Ms Middleton up when he had the chance. ‘She’ll be doing it tonight, she’ll be watching the Royal Variety show and I know what she’ll be saying – she’ll be like: ‘Oh look, there he is,” he joked. ”The black sheep of the family, embarrassing himself in front of the one that got away.”
William and Kate Middleton have had a number of engagements this month after the Duchess, who is 16 weeks pregnant with her second child, returned to royal duties in late October after her extreme morning sickness – known as hyperemesis gravidarum – showed improvement.
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Goulding, who sang at William and Kate’s Buckingham Palace wedding reception and performed Sir Elton John’s Your Song for their first dance, is in the line-up of acts, as are McBusted – made up of members of boy bands McFly and Busted.
Simply Red, whose frontman Mick Hucknall was one of the favourite artists of William’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, will also perform. Traditionally, the Queen has taken it in turns with the Prince of Wales to attend the show, and it had been expected to be the monarch who would be seated in the royal box 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 Queen, who turns 89 next year.
It is thought that the Cambridges will take it in turns with the Prince of Wales in the future. ‘As with any other invitation, attendance by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will be assessed on a case-by-case basis,’ a Buckingham Palace spokesman said. Charles and Camilla watched the performance last year, while the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh last went in the Diamond Jubilee year of 2012. But the Princess Royal represented the Royal Family in 2011.[contentblock id=2 img=adsense.png]
The event is held in aid of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, of which the Queen is patron. William and Kate have had a number of engagements this month after the Duchess, who is 16 weeks pregnant with her second child, returned to royal duties in late October after her extreme morning sickness – known as hyperemesis gravidarum – showed improvement.
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’. The show will be screened on ITV in December.