Prince Charles, Camilla & celebs record ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have recorded a special reading of the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ and have been joined by a number of celebs.

The idea was Prince Charles’, as Patron of the Actors’ Benevolent Fund; he wanted to help the charity over the Christmas period when cinemas and theatres would normally be full.

He and the Duchess recently visited Soho Theatre and music venue, The 100 Club, where they heard at first-hand the difficulties the creative industries have faced this year.

Prince Charles opens the recording of Twas the Night Before Christmas

The royal couple recorded the poem at Clarence House, their London home.

The poem was first published anonymously in Troy Sentinel in 1823 before Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) claimed authorship of the poem, by including it in the collection, Poems, published in 1844.

They also extended an invitation for a small number of actors to come to the royal residence to record the poem individually. All visits took place in the last few weeks and were in accordance with COVID-19 regulations, and those that were unable to do so, recorded the poem remotely.

Joining The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall was: Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Daniel Craig, Ncuti Gatwa, Joanna Lumley, Tom Hardy, and Dame Penelope Keith, who is President of the Actors Benevolent Fund (ABF).

The Prince of Wales has been patron of the organisation for more than 20 years.

The footage and audio will be released tomorrow, but we get to see roaring fires crackling in the residence, as well as the decorated Christmas tree in the hallway.

Tom Hardy records ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas from Clarence House

The ABF has received more applications for help in 2020 than ever before. Prior to 2020, the largest group of beneficiaries that the ABF supported were over retirement age, but in the last year the majority is now the 18-49 age group.

In April, the ABF launched an Emergency Grant Fund to support actors, actresses and stage managers experiencing immediate financial hardship owning to coronavirus. The grants have helped people with things like rent arrears, urgent bill payments, and also the costs of everyday essentials – particularly where people are living in areas that Universal Credit does not meet someone’s full financial needs (e.g. renters living in big cities).

Joanna Lumley was part of the recording from Clarence House

Dame Maggie Smith in her part for the recording with Prince Charles and Camilla

In addition to its Emergency Grant Fund, the ABF continues to support people who are ill or injured. This type of support is based on the needs of the individual, with the aim of helping people maintain their independence. Grants have been made for mobility aids, mental health support, and help with household bills in recent weeks.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall both take a great interest in the arts, regularly attend theatre and opera performances and classical concerts, and visit exhibitions and galleries, sometimes as public events to support charities and sometimes privately.

The Duchess of Cornwall reads the poem from a book

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