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Tuesday, December 8, 1998 Published at 08:19 GMT


Spicy Royal Variety Performance

Prince Charles and the Spice Girls are old friends

The Prince of Wales asked the two pregnant Spice Girls how they were getting on on Monday night - when he was guest of honour at this year's Royal Variety Performance.

The 77th annual showcase of international talent took place at London's Lyceum Theatre.

The Prince asked Posh Spice: "Have you been doing lots of exercise?" and her fellow mum-to-be Mel B replied; "Yeah, this" as she pretended to eat.

The Spice Girls performed their new song Goodbye. The foursome sat down so the pregnant pair didn't have to dance.

Only a few weeks ago Prince Charles was serenaded by the ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell at the Lyceum, when she sang at a special gala for his 50th birthday.

[ image: Martine McCutcheon will be making a tribute to 'ole blue eyes]
Martine McCutcheon will be making a tribute to 'ole blue eyes
Stars from the world of showbiz who performed at this year's Royal Variety Performance included Maureen Lipman and the cast of Oklahoma!; EastEnders star Martine McCutcheon, who joined Boyzone to sing a selection of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra; and Lily Savage with the cast of Annie, the West End show in which she is starring.

Savage also helped make the audience giggle in the comedy segments of the show, helped by comedian Phil Cool and runner-up in the 1998 Perrier Awards, Peter Kay.

[ image: Jane McDonald: treading the boards at the Lyceum]
Jane McDonald: treading the boards at the Lyceum
The singing star of the TV docu-soap The Cruise also made an appearence. Former cabaret singer Jane McDonald has become phenominally successful this year with her debut album reaching number one and a sell-out show at the London Palladium.

Also on the bill were the teenage band B*witched and the ever-popular Barry Manilow.

The Boyzone lead singer, Ronan Keating, co-hosted the evening with Ulrika Jonsson. The event will be broadcast on BBC ONE on 20 December.

[ image: 'Her name was Lola...' Barry will be entertaining all the old showgirls in the audience]
'Her name was Lola...' Barry will be entertaining all the old showgirls in the audience
The first Royal Variety Performance in 1912 was called the Royal Command performance in the Art of Variety and was watched by King George V.

The annual event is always staged in aid of the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund and over the years a host of talented stars have taken part.

It is a glittering occasion where formal evening dress is often the norm. In 1963 John Lennon was reported to have cheekily told the audience that those in the cheap seats should just clap while the others in the house could show their appreciation by rattling their jewellery.

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