Britain's arts world will meet at a glittering ceremony May 22 at the Royal Academy of Arts where the Queen will present prizes to the brightest young British talents in the arts to mark her Golden Jubilee.
The one-night Golden Jubilee Awards will see five £10,000 prizes presented to rising talents from each of the Royal Academies; music, visual arts, drama, dance and directing, and in a unique gesture of personal generosity, the Queen has contributed thousands of pounds towards the prizes.
The award winners, whose names are being kept secret until the ceremony, are young and talented artists who would be unable to pursue their careers without the prizes. A citation giving the reasons why they are being honored will be read by leading figures in their field — including Sir Michael Gambon and Sam Mendes — before the recipients are given their prize by the Queen and a trophy designed by Jasper Conran.
The ceremony and reception will feature a glittering array of talents from the worlds of art including 13 Dames, who will pose for a photograph to be taken by Lord Lichfield. Only one invited dame will be missing: Maggie Smith, currently filming the next Harry Potter film.
Organizer Belinda Harley said the Royal Academy was overjoyed to be recipients of the Queen's generosity. "It is an inspiration to patrons and sponsors, and even government," she said. "It throws light on the fact that the arts are one of the national assets that we must look after and preserve."
Members of the Royal Family who will accompany the Queen tonight will include Prince Philip, the Duke of Kent, Lord and Lady Linley, and Lady Helen Taylor.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow