Thursday, March 4, 1999 Published at 19:50 GMT
Girls greet Duke on theatre tour
The Duke says hello to a few of the leggy showgirls
The Duke of Edinburgh encountered scantily-clad chorus girls during a whistle-stop tour of London theatres.
The 40-minute visit was part of a hectic tour of 11 theatres, in which Prince Philip and the Queen have been highlighting the importance of the UK's theatre industry.
As part of a separate schedule, the Queen met Oscar-nominated Australian actress Cate Blanchett - who played her royal namesake and predecessor Elizabeth I in the hit film Elizabeth - at the Almeida Theatre pre-production meeting of David Hare's play Plenty.
She was presented with complementary tickets in the Royal Circle for Thursday night's performance of the show, which she first saw in 1947 with her sister Princess Margaret.
She said that she recalled her last visit as "great fun". Princess Margaret has now seen the play 27 times.
The theatre tour was organised by the Society of London Theatre. The West End, with its 51 major theatres, has a combined annual economic impact of more than £1bn.
The tour is to highlight that it is one of the UK's biggest international tourist attractions and is the largest theatre industry anywhere else in the world, including New York's Broadway.
The Duke of Edinburgh observed a drama class at the Royal Court Youth Theatre.
Fast Show and Shakespeare In Love star Mark Williams then entertained the Duke with three short monologues, written by 11-year-olds Akaisha Billy, David Sampson, Noor Miah.
Akaisha, bubbling with excitement after meeting the Duke said: "He said to me that my play was lovely and said it was nice to meet young playwrights."
Welcomed with daffodils
The Queen and Duke met up for a visit to costumiers Angels and Bermans where they were greeted by hundreds of youngsters holding daffodils.
The Queen was shown the costume worn by Dame Judi Dench as Elizabeth I in the film Shakespeare In Love, and expressed interest in a sewing room in which a seamstress was making a "pregnancy pad" for the TV series Heartbeat.
The Royals lunched at The Ivy with a cast of theatrical celebrities, including Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Lord Lloyd-Webber, Sir Peter Hall, Jonathan Miller, Maureen Lipman, David Suchet, Felicity Kendall and Trevor Nunn.
Miss Lipman said: "I think that it is terrific that she is interested and asking so many questions especially since she is not known as being a great theatre-lover."
It was not the first such "theme" day for the Queen. Last November, she and the Duke visited the various financial venues in the city.
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