Camilla smashes plates at National Theatre as she gets involved with new play

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They were stage plates specially designed to be broken and were part of a set which will be featuring in a new play (PA)
They were stage plates specially designed to be broken and were part of a set which will be featuring in a new play (PA)

Prince Charles would be best advised to lock up his finest china: the Duchess of Cornwall has just developed a taste for smashing plates.

“Very therapeutic,” she announced after trying her hand at crockery demolition at the National Theatre in London.

They were stage plates specially designed to be broken and were part of a set which will be featuring in a new play just opening at The National, Middle by David Eldridge.

Rufus Norris, the theatre’s director, told her: “This is from a show which has its first preview this evening. It’s a domestic drama of a middle-aged couple. It’s about the middle of their relationship. At one point of them gets rather cross and takes the crockery to task.

“We formally invite you to test it out. Use the opportunity to get some of that frustration out!”

The duchess then smashed several plates on the stage of the Olivier Theatre.

“I might try it at home!” She joked.

Camilla was making her first visit to the theatre since taking over as its royal patron last month from the Duchess of Sussex.

Norris said: “I have met the duchess before on a private visit, but am very delighted to be working with her in a more formal capacity.”

Before the public part of the visit Norris and the theatre’s executive director Kate Varah had a 20-minute private meeting with Camilla.

“These things are personal,” he said. “The most important thing is to say hi, get to know each other a little bit, talk about the priorities for us, the priorities for the royal family, and how we can work together.”

During her visit the duchess met costume makers, cast members, props teams and puppeteers.

She also met with a veteran from the National’s production of War Horse Peter Twose who entertained Camilla with his impression of a horse.

Camilla was a big fan of the show, which was “so clever”. She said. “I was sitting there sobbing my eyes out.”

She also met two of the actors from The Ocean At The End of The Lane and their puppet equivalents.

“Are they supposed to look like you?” she asked James Bamford, who plays The Boy. “They are,” he said.

Wardrobe supervisor Amanda Tyrrell showed the duchess the giant green caterpillar’s head from the production of wonder.land, a version of Alice in Wonderland which was directed by Rufus Norris.

It took three people to get the actor into the costume, she said.

Prop maker Lara Scott showed her the sweet shop counter from the play Small Island, complete with glass jars full of what turned out to be real sweets. “We had to glue down the lids because they were going walkies,” she said.

The duchess also watched a 10-minute workshop of The Odyssey, a forthcoming production by the National’s community theatre outreach organisation, Public Arts.

Mike, 66, a retired teacher from the Cast theatre in Doncaster, told the duchess: “Public Acts is a celebration of the whole of humanity - all its frailty, its courage, its strength, its fears, its laughter and its anger. It celebrates every part of what being human is.”

Norris said afterwards: “It has meant so much for the Public Acts community to meet her. It has made their year.”

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