The Royal Variety Performance is a gala evening held annually in the United Kingdom, which is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family. It usually takes place at one of several London theatres. The evening’s performance is a variety show consisting of family entertainment, including comedy, singing, dancing, magic and other speciality acts, and many of the performers and hosts are celebrities.
The origins of the Royal Variety Performance date back to 1912, when His Majesty King George V, and Her Majesty Queen Mary, agreed to attend a ‘Royal Command Performance’ at the Palace Theatre in London’s Cambridge Circus, in aid of the Variety Artistes’ Benevolent Fund.
It became an annual event in 1921 and the BBC first provided live radio coverage in 1926 and 1960 saw the first television presentation.
In 1951 it was held at the Victoria Palace Theatre in the presence of Queen Elizabeth accompanied by Princess Margaret. King George VI was too ill to attend and it was relayed to his sickbed in Buckingham Palace.