Meghan welcomed by Take That as she makes Royal Variety debut
Expectant mother Meghan Markle has met pop legends Take That as she made her debut appearance at the Royal Variety Performance.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex thrilled onlookers as they arrived at the star-studded charity gala at the London Palladium on Monday evening.
Meghan’s baby bump was barely noticeable as she graced the red carpet in a black-and-white sequinned Safiyaa gown before meeting the three remaining members of Take That.
“I’m looking forward to seeing you closing the show,” Meghan told the pop group before heading into the packed auditorium for her first time attending the annual show.
Take That’s Mark Owen, who wore a maroon velvet suit for the occasion, beamed as he spoke with Meghan and Harry.
“It’s very exciting,” he told Press Association of the royal meeting.
Other acts on the bill included singers Rick Astley and George Ezra, the cast of the musical Hamilton, and Britain’s Got Talent winner, comedian Lost Voice Guy.
Host Greg Davies, famed for his role in comedy series The Inbetweeners, poked fun at the relative age of the crowd during his opening.
“I’m a middle-aged man and I despise anyone under the age of 25. So to look out and see this sea of grey heads is an absolute delight,” he joked.
Mr Davies also greeted the Duke and Duchess and congratulated them on their “wonderful news”.
“As I believe they say in royal circles, one is thrilled when two become three,” he said.
On the red carpet Meghan was presented with a posy by seven-year-old Darcie-Rae Moyse, from Crowthorn in Berkshire.
The flowers were picked from the garden at Brinsworth House, a nursing and residential home in Twickenham for former entertainers and artists.
Royal Variety Charity chairman Giles Cooper said the posy was to mark Meghan’s first visit to the gala, which he said had one of the best line-ups in recent years.
“It’s a great mix of speciality performers, comedy and music,” Mr Giles said.
The event raises money for the Royal Variety Charity, of which The Queen is Patron, and in particular helps support the residents of Brinsworth House.
Lost Voice Guy had the crowd in stitches with his unique comedy routine delivered through a speech app on his tablet device.
The comedian, whose real name is Lee Ridley, has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak but poked fun at his disability as well as his talent show win.
“Now that I’ve hit the big time, nothing will shut me up,” he said in the electronic voice. “Unless there is a power cut.”
Norwegian pop star Sigrid, 22, gave an uplifting rendition of her hit Strangers, leaving the stage to dance in the aisle with fans.
Young cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who performed at Harry and Meghan’s wedding, also took to the stage, but the royal couple missed his encore while they were signing the guest register.
Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo sang a duet, Ezra sang Shotgun and Take That finished with Never Forget.
Living up to its variety show name, the night also featured acrobats and animal puppetry by Circus 1903, who brought their human-operated elephants Queenie and Peanut, designed by the team behind the stage hit War Horse.