King Charles and Queen Camilla Visit RADA, Reflecting on Theatre Memories Amid General Election

King Charles and Queen Camilla Visit RADA, Reflecting on Theatre Memories Amid General Election

King Charles and Queen Camilla made a significant visit to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, marking their first major public engagement since the announcement of a summer General Election by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The visit highlighted their commitment to the arts and provided a platform for personal reminiscences and professional insights.

A Night at the Theatre

During their tour, Queen Camilla recalled a memorable night at the theatre with her grandchildren, which was brought up by former RADA student Daniel Mays.

Mays, who starred as Nathan Detroit in the musical Guys And Dolls at London’s Bridge Theatre, asked Camilla about her experience.

“It was fantastic,” Camilla replied, describing how her grandchildren had an incredible night. Mays shared that the royal visit was a surprise to the cast, making the evening even more special.

Meeting with RADA Luminaries

The royal couple met with notable RADA alumni, including actors David Harewood and Cynthia Erivo.

Harewood, known for his roles in Homeland and Supergirl, and Erivo, who starred in the 2019 film Harriet and is set to play Elphaba in the upcoming Wicked movie, are both prominent figures in the acting community and serve as RADA’s president and vice-president, respectively. They accompanied King Charles and Queen Camilla as they celebrated RADA’s 120th anniversary.

Challenges in Drama Education

During the visit, Harewood expressed concerns about the declining presence of drama in school syllabuses.

He emphasized the importance of having a reigning monarch who champions and supports the arts.

“To have a reigning monarch who is a champion of the arts, in favor of the arts, supporting the arts, I think is really, really exciting,” Harewood remarked.

Insights into RADA’s Programs

King Charles and Queen Camilla’s tour included a visit to RADA’s Scenic Art Studio, where they met technical theatre arts students and learned about the set design and build process.

They also observed a scene from the play House of Ife by Beru Tessema, performed by third-year acting students in the Gielgud Theatre.

The play, which deals with a family coping with the death of the eldest son, provided a poignant glimpse into the emotional depth and talent fostered at RADA.

Historical Connections

RADA’s association with the British Royal Family spans over a century, beginning with the Royal Charter granted in 1920 and including a visit from the future Edward VIII in 1921.

Earlier this month, King Charles was announced as the patron of RADA, a role previously held by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, from 1952 until her death in September 2022.

RADA principal Niamh Dowling expressed delight at King Charles’ patronage, emphasizing its significance in nurturing talent and excellence in the performing arts.

Balancing Royal Duties and Public Engagements

The royal visit to RADA occurred amid a backdrop of political activity, with a surprise summer General Election called for July 4.

To avoid any appearance of distraction from the election campaign, the monarchy has postponed engagements that could divert attention.

However, they have continued with other commitments, including garden parties at Buckingham Palace and D-Day 80th anniversary events in Portsmouth and Normandy.

Upcoming Events and Personal Challenges

The visit also coincided with the preparation for the King’s Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, scheduled for June 15.

Despite the election, this annual celebration will proceed, featuring almost 1,000 soldiers and around 240 horses from the Household Division.

The participation of the Princess of Wales, who is undergoing chemotherapy following a cancer diagnosis, remains uncertain.

Conclusion: A Royal Commitment to the Arts

King Charles and Queen Camilla’s visit to RADA underscored their enduring support for the performing arts and highlighted the importance of artistic education.

Their engagement with students, alumni, and staff at RADA reflects a deep commitment to nurturing the next generation of actors and creators, reinforcing the cultural and educational values that the royal family continues to uphold.