The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gave their children an early Christmas treat today with a trip to the pantomime in London’s West End.
Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis had a ball on their first official royal red carpet together late this afternoon.
The youngsters were taken by William and Kate to a special pantomime performance at The London Palladium, hosted by The National Lottery, which was held to thank key workers and their families for their phenomenal efforts this year.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their children Prince George (right), Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis (left) ahead of a special pantomime performance at The London Palladium, hosted by The National Lottery on Friday
Holding their parents’ hands tightly, they walked up to the the theatre, entranced by the sight of an elf juggling snowballs.
Little Louis, two, smartly dressed in blue cardigan was with his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, elegant in a Alessandra Rich dress, while his brother, George, seven, looking more grown up than ever in a stripped jumper, held onto the duke.
Feisty Charlotte, five, happily walked on her own, kicking her legs in a grey and black tartan dress, shrugging off her father’s guiding arm.
Inside, they had their first experience of a royal box, chatting excitedly as they waited for the start of the performance of ‘Pantoland’, starring Julian Clary and Elaine Page.
Little Louis, two, smartly dressed in blue cardigan was with his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, elegant in a Alessandra Rich dress while Charlotte wore a grey and black tartan dress
William, 38, nipped downstairs and onto the stage make a speech before the start of the show leaving Louis sitting on his mother’s lap.
The second in line to the throne thanked Britain’s key workers and sweetly marked the death of Dame Barbara Windsor, a fitting tribute given her frequent appearance as a pantomime star.
He said: ‘Before I go on, I want to pause and pay tribute to a true national treasure, Dame Barbara Windsor, who so sadly passed away last night.
‘She was a giant of the entertainment world, and of course a legend on pantomime stages across the country including here at the London Palladium. And I know we’ll all miss her hugely.’
Holding their parents’ hands tightly, they walked up to the the theatre, entranced by the sight of an elf juggling snowballs
He told the audience sitting in family groups with social distancing between them: ‘It’s wonderful to be back here in the West End and see theatres reopening their doors….Catherine, George, Charlotte, Louis and I are all really looking forward to the show.
‘We are here tonight for a very special performance. Special, because of you – the key workers here in the audience.
‘You include community workers, volunteers, teachers, NHS staff, representatives from the emergency services and military, researchers working on the vaccine, people helping the homeless, those manning vital call centres, and staff from a wide range of frontline charities – to name but a few.
‘You have given your absolute all this year, and made remarkable sacrifices.
‘So too have your families, who I’m sure have seen far less of you than they would have liked. It’s lovely that you are all here together tonight.
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured left). Pantoland, billed as a celebration of pantomime, features a host of stars including singer Beverley Knight, dancers Ashley Banjo and Diversity, comedian and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, actor Nigel Havers, singer Gary Wilmot, actor Charlie Stemp, and Joseph star Jac Yarrow
‘You are representative of the huge number of people across the UK who have stepped forward to make a difference this year in so many crucial ways. The country owes you a huge debt of gratitude.
‘I hope you all thoroughly enjoy yourselves this evening. It is the least we could do to thank you for everything you do – day in, day out – to keep our country safe and look after those who need help the most.
‘From all of us – we wish you all a very Happy Christmas!’
The Duke of Cambridge gave a speech on stage and thanked Britain’s key workers and sweetly marked the death of Dame Barbara Windsor, a fitting tribute given her frequent appearance as a pantomime star
For much of William’s speech, Louis was focused on a big glitter ball hanging from the ceiling above the main part of the auditorium, pointing upwards at it and talking to Kate, 38.
When the duke returned to the box, there was a swift shuffling of seats, as William came to sit between his eldest son and daughter, leaving Charlotte amusingly doing a face palm gesture before they all settled down for the show.
Pantoland, billed as a celebration of pantomime, features a host of stars including singer Beverley Knight, dancers Ashley Banjo and Diversity, comedian and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, actor Nigel Havers, singer Gary Wilmot, actor Charlie Stemp, and Joseph star Jac Yarrow.
William (left) told the audience sitting in family groups with social distancing between them: ‘It’s wonderful to be back here in the West End and see theatres reopening their doors….Catherine, George, Charlotte, Louis and I are all really looking forward to the show. Louis (right) sat on his mother’s lap during the speech and was focused on a big glitter ball hanging from the ceiling above the main part of the auditorium
The family outing comes after the duke and duchess undertook a mini Christmas tour on the royal train Tour to pay tribute to the incredible work of individuals and organisations that have gone above and beyond in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The trip was also designed to showcase the UK’s arts, heritage and live performance sector, which has been devastated by the pandemic, but been supported throughout by the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
The National Lottery is currently supporting pantomimes at 10 theatres across the country, helping them to open their doors to the public safely by paying for the empty seats required for social distancing.
Yesterday’s audience included key workers from across the capital, including NHS staff, delivery drivers, refuse collectors, emergency services staff, charity workers and volunteers.
Nigel Railton, chief executive of National Lottery operator Camelot, said: ‘We wanted to do something ahead of Christmas to thank key workers who are playing such a vital role in this pandemic.
William said in his speech: ‘Before I go on, I want to pause and pay tribute to a true national treasure, Dame Barbara Windsor, who so sadly passed away last night. Pictured: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Dame Barbara Windsor in 2013
‘We’re delighted to have been able to host this special one-off performance of Pantoland with The London Palladium and Qdos Entertainment to hopefully lift spirits and say thank you to some of the key workers who keep us safe, ensure our public services run and continue to support the vulnerable. Never has their work been so critical during these extraordinary times.’
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, was in the audience and at the interval in the foyer the royal couple, wearing face masks, chatted to him briefly about their Royal Train tour earlier this week where acts funded by the Culture Recovery Fund performed at every stop.
‘Thank you for all the help on the train journey,’ William said.
He and Kate also spoke to families involved in efforts to support communities during the pandemic.
Dom Warren, 35, and his wife Alex, 33, from Hastings in East Sussex set up Dom’s Food Mission five years ago to use surplus food to help feed struggling families. In the Covid-19 pandemic they have seen demand rise dramatically and are currently providing 8,000 food parcels per month to families.
The couple, who are helped by their daughter, Lexie, 11, and son, Roman, 7, who both collect surplus food for the charity, work seven days a week. All four of them spoke to the royal couple.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to Dom Warren, founder of Dom’s Food Mission and his family, at the performance
William and Kate thanked them for all their hard work but William urged Dom to take it easy. ‘Look after yourself. You’ve got to look after yourself in the long term because then you can look after other people,’ the future King said.
After their chat, Lexie and Roman said they were enjoying the show. ‘It’s very cool,’ Lexie said.
Roman added: ‘It’s funny.’
Asked what the Cambridges had thought of the show so far, Dom said: ‘They said they thought it was amazing.’
He added they had not discussed what George, Charlotte, and Louis had thought of it.
Matt Ridsdale, Executive Director for the National Lottery operator Camelot, introduced William to the stage stage and couldn’t resist using one of the oldest panto lines.
‘As this is panto, I’m very conscious of who’s behind me,’ he said.