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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
By Luke Oreilly

Earl and Countess of Wessex cheered after star-studded Royal Variety Performance

PA Wire

The Earl and Countess of Wessex received three cheers from the audience at the close of recording of the 95th Royal Variety Performance.

Edward and Sophie were given a standing ovation as they waved to the audience at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday.

After the show, they spoke to the night’s performers including host Lee Mack, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sam Ryder and Gary Barlow.

Sophie wore a silver sparkly dress while Edward wore a classic tuxedo at the annual charity event, which was held at the venue for only the fourth time.

Cirque du Soleil dazzled the audience with a gravity-defying performance from their latest show, Kurios, culminating in Ukrainian acrobat Andrii Bondarenko balancing on top of a stack of chairs.

Mr Bondarenko said Edward asked if the safety wire attached to him was a usual part of the show.

“They asked me about my background,” he said.

“They really enjoyed the show, and they asked me about the safety cable and (whether) it is in the rules, and why we attach it.

“The truth is it is in the rules of Cirque du Soleil – after six metres you have to attach it.”

He added that the chairs were wobbling a lot as it was a different prop to the one he was used to.

“It was a little different prop to what I’m used to because they just moved to London on Tuesday and my show is still performing in Atlanta in the USA – so Cirque du Soleil built a new prop for me,” he said.

“It was completely different so it was wobbling a lot.”

Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder said that Edward and Sophie were “incredibly warm, polite, and kind”.

He added: “Such has been my experience this year of meeting members of the royal family, just lovely and supportive.”

He said he was excited for the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool this year.

“Who knows what is going to happen this year,” he said.

“The main thing is that we have a responsibility to throw an incredible party for Ukraine in our house.

“They are coming over and we are going to have an absolute blast. We know how to throw a party.

“We are going to step up to the plate and we are going to celebrate the richness of their culture, heritage, art, everything.”

The cast of Cabaret opened the show with a performance of Wilkommen, from the musical.

The earl and countess were entertained by a cast of famous faces during the night, including music from Nile Rogers & Chic, George Ezra, Ellie Goulding and Becky Hill.

The evening also featured a heartfelt duet by Rita Wilson and Gregory Porter, which followed a video commemorating the Queen’s lifelong relationship with the Royal Variety.

With the England team through to the knockout stages of the World Cup in Qatar, the night also saw a rendition of Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and The Lightning Seeds’ hit Three Lions.

The royals were also entertained by comedy from Al Murray, Maisie Adam, Omid Djalili and Britain’s Got Talent winner Axel Blake.

The show closed with a special tribute to the Queen by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gary Barlow, Gareth Malone and members of the London Youth Choirs.

They performed Sing, a song that Barlow and Lloyd Webber wrote for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The origins of the Royal Variety Performance date 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.

The event is staged in aid of the Royal Variety Charity and money raised from the show helps those people from the world of entertainment in need of care and assistance.

The show will be screened on ITV and ITV Hub in December.

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