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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 September 2006, 21:43 GMT 22:43 UK
Charles leads Betjeman tributes
The Duchess of Cornwall meets Joanna Lumley and Barry Humphries
The Duchess of Cornwall met the stars at the gala concert
The Prince of Wales headed the guests at a gala concert to mark the centenary of the birth of poet Sir John Betjeman.

Charles was accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall at the event at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London's West End.

Among the stars taking part in the concert were Hugh Grant, Stephen Fry and Prunella Scales.

Camilla's late father Major Bruce Shand was a close friend of Sir John, and Charles knew the poet from his time as an undergraduate at Cambridge.

'Courage and persistence'

The Royal couple were introduced to the poet's daughter Candida Lycett Green, who organised the concert, and met host Barry Humphries and actress Joanna Lumley. Lord Lloyd Webber was among those in the audience.

St Pancras station building
Sir John campaigned to save the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras

In the programme for the event the Prince wrote of Sir John's views on architecture: "I so admired his courage and persistence in standing up against the fashionable tide of destruction and vandalism which was sweeping this country in the 1960s."

Sir John was born on August 28, 1906, near Highgate, London, and was Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death in 1984.

Among his renowned works are A Subaltern's Love Song and Slough.

He was also famous for helping to save the former Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras railway station in London from demolition in the 1960s.

The concert, in aid of mental health charity Sane which Charles is patron of, was the culmination of a series of celebratory events.


SEE ALSO
Cornwall marking Betjeman's birth
28 Aug 06 |  Cornwall
Man behind 'nation's teddy bear'
28 Aug 06 |  Entertainment



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