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Charles and Camilla visit Rada to celebrate its 120th anniversary: King and Queen meet drama school’s president David Harewood and share a joke with actor Daniel Mays in first public engagement since Rishi Sunak called general election

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Queen Camilla was reminded of a ‘fantastic’ secret night at the theatre with her grandchildren today as she and King Charles toured a world-famous drama school.

The 75-year-old monarch and his wife met staff, students and alumni at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London including David Harewood and Cynthia Erivo.

The visit was the couple’s first major public event since Rishi Sunak last week called a summer General Election, as the monarchy has postponed any engagements ‘which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign’.

Former Rada student Daniel Mays spent around 12 months playing Nathan Detroit in the musical Guys And Dolls and he quizzed Camilla this morning about taking her grandchildren to see the production at London’s Bridge Theatre.

‘It was fantastic,’ replied Camilla. The actor said afterwards: ‘She loved it and she took all her grandkids and they said they had the most incredible night.’

He added: ‘I left about three months ago and towards the end of my run she came with all her grandkids, we were only told on the day there would be an important royal visit, so we were wondering who it was going to be.’

King Charles and Queen Camilla sit alongside actor David Harewood and actress Cynthia Erivo during their visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles and Queen Camilla sit alongside actor David Harewood and actress Cynthia Erivo during their visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to former Rada students Rosie Sheehy, Daniel Mays and Tanya Moodie

King Charles III speaks to former Rada students Rosie Sheehy, Daniel Mays and Tanya Moodie

King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive for a visit to Rada in London this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive for a visit to Rada in London this morning

King Charles III meets David Harewood and Cynthia Erivo at Rada in London this morning

King Charles III meets David Harewood and Cynthia Erivo at Rada in London this morning

Queen Camilla speaks to former Rada students Rosie Sheehy, Daniel Mays and Tanya Moodie

Queen Camilla speaks to former Rada students Rosie Sheehy, Daniel Mays and Tanya Moodie

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

Queen Camilla arrives for the visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla arrives for the visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III with Sir Kenneth Olisa, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, at Rada today

King Charles III with Sir Kenneth Olisa, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, at Rada today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

Mays joked: ‘It’s an immersive production and we were wondering if she was going to be in her seat or standing up. It’s the longest thing and most exhausting thing I’ve ever been part of – but a great time.’

Also during the visit, the King was told that Rada receives around 4,000 applications for a handful of acting places, and joked: ‘Do you put them through the most horrendous auditions?’

Harewood said after the royal visit: ‘I think drama is dropping off the school syllabuses right now, which is really sad to see, so to have (a) reigning monarch who is a champion of the arts, in favour of the arts, supporting the arts, I think is really, really exciting.’

Charles and Camilla were greeted today by actor Harewood, who is Rada’s president, and actress Erivo, its vice-president, as they celebrated the academy’s 120th anniversary.

Harewood is known for his roles in TV series Homeland and Supergirl, while Erivo starred in 2019 film Harriet and is playing Elphaba in the upcoming Wicked movie.

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III speaks to students at the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive for a visit to Rada in London this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive for a visit to Rada in London this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

Queen Camilla speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today 

Camilla and Charles sign the visitors' book at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art today

Camilla and Charles sign the visitors’ book at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

Queen Camilla during her visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla during her visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla during her visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla during her visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III during a visit to Rada today to celebrate the school's 120th anniversary

King Charles III during a visit to Rada today to celebrate the school’s 120th anniversary

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla go on a tour of the Rada site in London this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla go on a tour of the Rada site in London this morning 

Queen Camilla speaks to former Rada students Rosie Sheehy, Daniel Mays and Tanya Moodie

Queen Camilla speaks to former Rada students Rosie Sheehy, Daniel Mays and Tanya Moodie

They are among the stars who have attended Rada, where leading actors from Sir Anthony Hopkins to Imelda Staunton and Tom Hiddleston also trained.

The duo accompanied Charles and Camilla during the visit, which also saw them meet students to learn about one of the school’s current productions – watching an extract of a play performed by third-year acting students in the Gielgud Theatre.

The couple watched a scene from House Of Ife by Beru Tessema, a play about a family dealing with the death of the eldest son, and met the cast afterwards.

Charles, who is patron of Rada, was met upon his arrival at the school on Gower Street by Rada principal Niamh Dowling and Rada Council chairman Marcus Ryder.

The King and Queen went a tour, including to its Scenic Art Studio where they met technical theatre arts students and heard about the set design and build process.

Queen Camilla arrives for the visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla arrives for the visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to former Rada students Rosie Sheehy, Daniel Mays and Tanya Moodie

King Charles III speaks to former Rada students Rosie Sheehy, Daniel Mays and Tanya Moodie

Charles and Camilla during a visit to Rada today to celebrate the school's 120th anniversary

Charles and Camilla during a visit to Rada today to celebrate the school’s 120th anniversary

Queen Camilla speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

Charles and Camilla speak to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Charles and Camilla speak to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

In the café space, Charles – who is continuing to undergo cancer treatment – and Camilla spoke to students and alumni about their experiences at Rada. They also signed a visitors’ book.

Rada’s association with the Royal Family goes back more than a century, stemming from the Royal Charter granted in 1920, and including the visit of the future Edward VIII in 1921.

Earlier this month, the King was announced as patron of Rada. 

His mother Queen Elizabeth II had previously held the patronage from 1952 until her death in September 2022.

Speaking at the time of the announcement, Ms Dowling said: ‘Rada is delighted to welcome His Majesty King Charles III as our royal patron.

‘His support underscores our commitment to nurturing talent and excellence in the performing arts, as we continue to inspire and empower the next generation of actors and creators.’

The news also coincided with the first anniversary of the Coronation.

Queen Camilla speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

Charles and Camilla during a visit to Rada today to celebrate the school's 120th anniversary

Charles and Camilla during a visit to Rada today to celebrate the school’s 120th anniversary

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

Queen Camilla speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

Queen Camilla speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch an extract of a play performed at Rada this morning

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III and Queen Camilla tour the Scenic Art Studio during a visit to Rada today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles III speaks to students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London today

King Charles is welcomed today by Royal Academy of Dramatic Art principal Niamh Dowling

King Charles is welcomed today by Royal Academy of Dramatic Art principal Niamh Dowling

Camilla visits the Scenic Art Studio at Rada to hear about the set design and build process

Camilla visits the Scenic Art Studio at Rada to hear about the set design and build process

Rada was founded in 1904 by actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in rooms above His Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End, and today provides vocational training for actors, stage managers, designers and technical stagecraft specialists.

Also today, Charles had an audience with Samantha Mostyn, the Governor-General Designate of Australia, at Buckingham Palace. 

It comes as the Army confirmed that the King’s Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will go ahead despite the upcoming General Election.

The celebration, which traditionally involves the royal family gathering on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after a display of pomp and military pageantry, is set to take place on June 15.

It is unclear whether the Princess of Wales, who is undergoing chemotherapy after a cancer diagnosis, will attend.

The annual Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign for more than 260 years.

Also today, King Charles III met with Samantha Mostyn, the Governor-General Designate of Australia, at Buckingham Palace

Also today, King Charles III met with Samantha Mostyn, the Governor-General Designate of Australia, at Buckingham Palace

David Harewood

Cynthia Erivo

David Harewood (left) is known for his role in TV’s Homeland, while Cynthia Erivo (right) is playing Elphaba in the upcoming Wicked movie

Rada's association with the Royal Family goes back more than a century, stemming from the Royal Charter granted in 1920, and including the visit of the future Edward VIII in 1921

Rada’s association with the Royal Family goes back more than a century, stemming from the Royal Charter granted in 1920, and including the visit of the future Edward VIII in 1921

Queen Elizabeth II laughs as she watches stage fighting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in November 1980 while visiting the school as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations

Queen Elizabeth II laughs as she watches stage fighting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in November 1980 while visiting the school as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations

Queen Elizabeth II attends a performance at Rada in November 1964 for its 60th anniversary

Queen Elizabeth II attends a performance at Rada in November 1964 for its 60th anniversary

The Queen Mother meets Vivien Leigh at an event for Rada's 50th anniversary in May 1954

The Queen Mother meets Vivien Leigh at an event for Rada’s 50th anniversary in May 1954

The British Army has said almost 1,000 soldiers and around 240 horses from the Household Division will perform a ‘khaki rehearsal’ of the parade in London tomorrow. 

The Royal Family has postponed engagements ‘which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign’ after Rishi Sunak last week called a surprise summer General Election for July 4.

But they have continued with garden parties at Buckingham Palace and the King and Queen’s D-Day 80th anniversary appearances in Portsmouth and Normandy in June are expected to go ahead as scheduled.

Also yesterday, Charles was pictured looking happy and relaxed as he met Latvia ‘s President Edgars Rinkevics in a private audience at Buckingham Palace.



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