The Royal Variety Charity, of which The Queen is Patron, assists those who have worked professionally in the entertainment industry and are in need of help and assistance as a result of old age, ill-health, or hard times. Many of those who work in the entertainment industry can often work season to season, spending long periods with no work at all, and with little ability to make any plans for their futures, or to provide themselves with security should they have an accident or fall ill. Money raised by the Royal Variety Charity, and through the annual Royal Variety Performance, helps and supports hundreds of retired entertainers throughout the UK.
An arrival video.
The organisation is steeped in royal history. The Royal Variety Charity has been honoured with Royal Patronage from the reigning Monarch ever since 1921, when His Majesty King George V became the first Patron of the Variety Aristes’ Benevolent Fund (the previous name of the Royal Variety Charity). Other Patrons over the years included His Majesty King George VI, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is believed that the Royal Variety Charity is the only charity to exist in the UK with such a long, unbroken line of patronage from the reigning monarch.
Brinsworth House, which is owned and managed by the charity, accommodates up to 36 residents who are cared for by a dedicated team of nurses and care assistants. Built in 1850, the care home has a number of lounges, a bar area, library, restaurant, television rooms and a hair salon. The house is decorated throughout to emphasise its theatrical lineage, representing the many retired artists and entertainers who have been supported by the Royal Variety Charity.
‘The Noble Board’ within Brinsworth House, detailing the names of the ‘Noble 600’ who each contributed £2.10.0 in 1912 to buy Brinsworth House for the entertainment profession.
Last month Harry and Meghan attended the annual Royal Variety Performance which supports Brinsworth House. Reporters revealed the Duchess was eager to find out more and see the charity’s work in action. Emily Nash reports Meghan told chairman Giles Cooper she used to visit a similar home for retired actors in LA and “it brought feelings of being amongst your own”.
Meghan also spoke in fluent Spanish to one resident.
The Duchess heard from staff members about the history of Brinsworth House, before visiting some of the residential home’s facilities.
Meghan joined residents for a selection of Christmas-themed activities, including arts and crafts and carols around the Christmas tree.
Meghan enjoyed a musical performance.
Note a striking portrait of Her Majesty in the background.
Simon Perry reports: ‘Speaking with retired West End theatre actress Josephine Gordon, 87, Meghan said she was “very good.” She then paused, put her hands on her growing baby bump and added that she was feeling “very pregnant today.” The royal mom-to-be then asked the resident if she had any children, to which she responded, “No, I had a career.” Meghan, a former actress herself, replied, “Yes, that I understand.”
— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) December 18, 2018
The Duchess contributed to the festive artwork.
A closer look at Meghan’s beautiful handwriting. Her calligraphy skills come in very handy as a royal 🙂
‘Activities co-ordinator Jay Crank told T&C: “She said she used to teach calligraphy. She chose her bauble shape and produced a beautiful work of art.” Jay added about the visit: “She was so natural and so wonderful to be with. She can join our class any time. We haven’t done any calligraphy here before but I think she’s inspired us. She is a wonderful person, so genuine.” She added about the residents: “They feel truly uplifted. They were able to connect I think, perhaps it’s because of her background.”
And Meghan signed the visitors’ book.
A closer look at her signature.
The visit provided a lovely opportunity for Meghan to reconnect with her acting roots. It was fascinating to hear she’s visited a similar place in LA for retired actors. Her charitable endeavors have obviously spanned her life and career.
Meghan told her hosts “It’s really been such a treat to be here. I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me”. The video below is packed with an array of special moments from the visit.
Meghan wished the press pack a Merry Christmas as she departed.
Moving onto a look at what Meghan wore today.
Meghan’s coat is the Soia & Kyo Adelaida style (with thanks to Meghan’s Fashion). The piece is described as “a slim fit maxi length classic wool coat. Elegant and refined, with a classic notch collar and versatile waist belt. Constructed with our signature stretch printed lining, this season go-to can be worn belted for timeless appeal or open for a modern flair.” It’s also available at Revolve with a detachable collar.
Meghan wore the BROCK Collection Odilia dress. The dress is described as: “This grey floral-print taffeta Odilia dress is an apt reflection of Brock Collection’s romantic and ethereal mood for Resort 2019. Made in Italy, it’s tailored for a slim fit with a panelled bodice and coordinating pencil skirt, and features ruched cap sleeves to accentuate the square neckline.” It’s available at Matches Fashion.
The Duchess wore her favourite Aquazzura Deneuve bow pumps.
Meghan carried her Wilbur & Gussie Charlie Oyster clutch.
And accessorised with her Birks Petale diamond and gold earrings.
A closer look at Meghan’s updo.
We’ll see arrival shots of Harry and Meghan for the Queen’s pre-Christmas luncheon at Buckingham Palace tomorrow.