Queen Camilla joins British acting royalty at star-studded event celebrating works of William Shakespeare

15 February 2024, 00:59

Queen Camilla with the Dames
Queen Camilla with the Dames. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Queen Camilla has joined British acting royalty at an event celebrating the works of William Shakespeare.

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Camilla was greeted by a host of actors who have played Hamlet over the years, including Brian Cox, Jeremy Irons and David Mitchell.

She then met a dozen dames, including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Twiggy Lawson and Dame Vanessa Redgrave.

On Valentine's Day, Camilla was given two matching jumpers with a heart on them as a gift by event host Gyles Brandreth, who said he hoped they would keep the King and Queen "warm on those cold winter nights".

Meanwhile, Robert Lindsay - who spoke before his performance of Cole Porter's Brush Up Your Shakespeare - said Valentine's Day was the "perfect day to celebrate the King's love of Shakespeare, and indeed to celebrate the love between the King and the Queen".

Other attendees at the celebrity-filled event included Charles Dance, Stephen Fry and Sir David Suchet.

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Camilla with Dames, from left, back row, Joanna Lumley, Floella Benjamin, Twiggy Lawson, Harriet Walter, Penelope Wilton, Maureen Lipman. Front row: Virginia McKenna, Siân Phillips, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Penelope Keith and Patricia Routledge.
Camilla with Dames, from left, back row, Joanna Lumley, Floella Benjamin, Twiggy Lawson, Harriet Walter, Penelope Wilton, Maureen Lipman. Front row: Virginia McKenna, Siân Phillips, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Penelope Keith and Patricia Routledge. Picture: Alamy

Both Camilla and Charles were understood to have been planning to attend the event, but following his cancer diagnosis, the King has postponed all public-facing duties.

Many of the guests signed a card and left messages of well-wishes to him.

The gathering was part of ongoing celebrations marking the passing of 400 years since Shakespeare's first folio.

Camilla with Alex Jennings, Freddie Fox, Jeremy Irons, Brian Cox, Tom Courtenay, Peter Egan, Robert Lindsay, Martin Jarvis, Simon Russell Beale, Robert Powell and Samuel West
Camilla with Alex Jennings, Freddie Fox, Jeremy Irons, Brian Cox, Tom Courtenay, Peter Egan, Robert Lindsay, Martin Jarvis, Simon Russell Beale, Robert Powell and Samuel West. Picture: Alamy

Buckingham Palace said: "As an avid reader, The Queen has a strong interest in highlighting the importance of literacy and has long been recognised as a supporter of literacy in the UK and internationally.

"As a grandmother, Her Majesty understands the joy of reading, but also, how literacy can create life opportunities."

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