Earl and Countess of Wessex meet royal family photographer at variety show

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex met a photographer who documented the royal family more than 50 years ago ahead of the recording of the Royal Variety Performance.

Edward and Sophie were greeted by former BBC photographer Joan Williams as they arrived at the Royal Albert Hall.

Sophie was dressed in a silver sparkly dress while Edward wore a classic tuxedo at the annual charity event, which is being held at the venue for only the fourth time.

Ms Williams is a resident at Brinsworth House, a retirement home for theatre and entertainment professionals, which is supported by the Royal Variety Charity.

Royal Variety Performance 2022
The Earl and Countess of Wessex meet Joan Williams, and look at photos she took (David Parry/PA)

“It sounds like you have a party every day,” Sophie said to her.

Ms Williams said: “Most days.”

Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Williams said she got the job photographing the royal family for the 1969 BBC documentary, The Royal Family, after her male colleagues turned it down.

“My male colleagues said ‘ugh we don’t want to do that’.

“So I got it. And I have to admit, I was never told what to do. I was asked to do what I wanted to do.”

She said the royal family got used to her.

“They got used to me, and I got used to them.

“It was really quite easy.”

Sophie was then presented with a posy of flowers by Beatrice Ann Mansfield, 10, which had been picked from the gardens of Brinsworth House by its residents.

Royal Variety Performance 2022
The Earl and Countess of Wessex meet Beatrice Ann Mansfield, 10, and Sophie Colassanti, 11 (David Parry/PA)

The earl and countess will be entertained by a cast of famous faces at this year’s show, including music from Nile Rogers & Chic, George Ezra, Ellie Goulding, Sam Ryder and Becky Hill.

The evening will also feature a duet by Rita Wilson and Gregory Porter.

With the England team through to the knockout stages of the World Cup in Qatar, the night will also see a rendition of Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and The Lightning Seeds’ hit Three Lions.

The cast of Cabaret are set to perform at the charity event, and there will be a special collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gary Barlow, Gareth Malone and members of the London Youth Choirs.

Cirque du Soleil will dazzle the audience with a performance from their latest show, Curious.

The royals will also be entertained by comedy from Al Murray, Maisie Adam, Omid Djalili, and Britain’s Got Talent winner Axel Blake.

The origins of the Royal Variety Performance date back to 1912, when King George V and Queen Mary agreed to attend a Royal Command Performance at the Palace Theatre in London, in aid of the Variety Artistes’ Benevolent Fund.

The event is staged in aid of the Royal Variety Charity and money raised from the show helps those people from the world of entertainment in need of care and assistance.

The show will be screened on ITV and ITV Hub in December.

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