Just as Dame Shirley Bassey performed many times for Queen Elizabeth II, over the years she has also performed many times for the UK’s new King.
Born just over a decade before King Charles – interestingly there was the same age difference between The Queen and The Dame as there is between The Dame and The King – Dame Shirley has been an indefatigable supporter of The King’s charity work.
The images of Dame Shirley’s attendance at the then Prince of Wales’ 31st birthday in 1979 are iconic. Equally iconic were those images of The Dame with the then Princess of Wales after her 1990 performance for The Prince’s Trust. Then her set at 2002’s Picnic in the Park, with that subsequent legendary photograph of The Prince sitting between Dame Shirley and Dame Joan Collins?
Then there are the Royal Variety Performances. That of 1994 when the then Miss Bassey famously threw The Prince a flower. And that of 2000 which gave us those fabulous images both of Dame Shirley kissing Prince Charles and the group shot with Kylie Minogue.
As with The Queen, when not performing for The King, Dame Shirley has attended various events and receptions where he has been present, including with The Queen Consort, with whom Dame Shirley has also been photographed. There was an event in 2006 in aid of Elephant Family. There was The Prince’s 60th Birthday Party in 2008. The reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2010. In 2011, Dame Shirley performed at the Classic Brit Awards where the then Duchess of Cornwall presented John Barry’s posthumous honour for Outstanding Contribution To Music. Also in 2011, The Dame attended a reception at Clarence House for the National Osteoporosis Society.
Dame Shirley’s connections with the previous Prince of Wales have also been continued with the current one. Who can forget that incredible photograph of Prince William chatting to Dame Shirley at the end of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee concert in 2002? Or her performance at the 2014 Royal Variety Performance attended by the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge? Both The Prince and The Dame attended the Pride of Britain Awards in 2017. Then just last year, The Dame took a leading role in The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Mental Health Minute. Her powerful contribution to that showed that her speaking voice is just as beautiful as her singing one.
Whether or not The Dame ever performs for the new King, or indeed the new Prince of Wales, the intertwining of the careers of Wales’ greatest daughter and its longest serving Prince means her legacy of royal performing is secure.
If you want to understand why, look no further than these two performances The Dame gave in front of The King. Individually, each of them is testimony to the unique, never to be equalled, talents of Dame Shirley. Together, they are two of the greatest performances in show business history.
First, the show stealing turn at the 1994 Royal Variety Performance
Second, the equally show stealing turn at 1996’s Royal Gala.