Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle’s gift from an ‘elephant’ and awkward show glitches

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex marked exactly six months since their wedding by attending their first Royal Variety Performance together last night.

Proudly showing off her blossoming baby bump, Meghan made her first appearance at the show, wearing a dazzling black and white Safiyaa top and long black skirt.

The Duchess, who is due to give birth to her first child in the spring, chatted to stars including Take That, and some of the cast from the hit musical Hamilton.

She was given a winter posy by seven-year-old Darcie-Rae Moyse from Crowthorne, Berkshire, who was wearing a tiara when she stepped inside the London Palladium.

Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle's gift from an 'elephant' and awkward show glitches

Meghan receives a gift backstage
(Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Outside, Meghan, 37, headed over to mother-and-daughter Jo Wiggins, 43, and Lucy Robertson, seven, who handed her a greeting card and teddy bear decorated in a “gender neutral” yellow ribbon to congratulate her on her pregnancy.

“I said congratulations and she thanked us,” Jo, from Watford, Hertfordshire, said. “She’s beautiful and has a lovely little bump.”

The royal couple seemed delighted to meet the cast of Hamilton again, a few months after seeing the show on stage.

The cast members congratulated Meghan on her pregnancy. “Thank you,” she said.

Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle's gift from an 'elephant' and awkward show glitches

They enjoyed an awkward exchange
(Image: Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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Take That singer Gary Barlow wanted to discuss Harry’s recording career with Meghan. He said: “Ask your husband about playing the tambourine on one of our records!”

“Jamaica wasn’t it?” Harry interjected.

Barlow later explained that the Prince had played percussion on Sing, his Commonwealth record commemorating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

In the Royal Box the couple smiled broadly as host Greg Davies welcomed them to the show.

They also beamed when he said the entire audience would like to congratulate them on their “wonderful news”.

“As I believe they say in royal circles, one is thrilled that two will become three,” he said.

Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle's gift from an 'elephant' and awkward show glitches

The pair watch from the box
(Image: Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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The couple also laughed good-naturedly as they were the subject of Davies’ opening skit.

He recalled how his mother, Pat, 78, a retired school bursar, had said: “All of us single ladies were a bit disappointed when he (Harry) got taken. “

“As if she had a chance!” Davies said, to Meghan’s laughter.

However, there were a few hiccups during the show.

Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle's gift from an 'elephant' and awkward show glitches

The Duchess of Sussex meets performers
(Image: Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

When Simon Cowell arrived on stage to introduce the winner of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, the comedian Lost Voice Guy, he was unable to read his autocue and was forced to wing it.

At another point Greg Davies came on and went to introduce Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the talented young cellist who performed at Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

He was halfway through his preamble, describing how the royal couple were the only people present who did not hear the cellist play as they were signing the register, when he realised he was introducing the wrong person at that point in the proceedings.

“That was entirely the wrong link,” he said laughing, before going off stage and returning to more applause, including from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle's gift from an 'elephant' and awkward show glitches

The Duchess flashes her growing baby bump
(Image: UK Press via Getty Images)

After the show the couple made their way on stage to meet more than 40 performers.

Meghan was enchanted by Peanut, a realistic puppet elephant from the act Circus 1903 who bowed and offered her a posy of flowers. Harry even chivalrously kissed its trunk.

Performer Jessica Spalis, who accompanied the elephant, operated by Luke Chadwick-Jones, said the couple had been fascinated about how the elephant worked – and even had a look behind his ears to check.

Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle's gift from an 'elephant' and awkward show glitches

Following the show, the Duke and Duchess met with performers
(Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Jessica spoke of her pride at appearing in front of the royal couple. “I’ve been watching this show since I was a child so this is a dream come true,” she said.

It was Harry’s second outing to the annual event, which is always attended by a member of the Royal Family, after his debut in 2015.

As a former actress and performer, Meghan took a keen interest in the show, an event she is unlikely to have seen anything like before.

Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle's gift from an 'elephant' and awkward show glitches

Meghan speaks to Take That
(Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

The Royal Variety Performance – a mixture of music, dance, singing and comedy – is held in aid of the Royal Variety Charity, whose patron is the Queen.

The money raised from the show helps hundreds of entertainers throughout the UK, who are in need of assistance as a result of old age, ill-health, or hard times.

In particular the charity assists former members of the entertainment industry living in Brinsworth House, a residential home it runs in Twickenham, south west London. The Duchess’s posy included foliage from the Brinsworth House garden.

Inside the Royal Variety Performance: Meghan Markle's gift from an 'elephant' and awkward show glitches

(Image: PA)

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.

In July 1919, the second royal show was performed and was the first to be billed a Royal Variety Performance.

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