Published 15 November 2002

THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS ISSUED BY THE PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will attend the Royal Film Performance at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on the evening of Monday, 18th November 2002.

The film chosen this year is the James Bond movie, Die Another Day.
Her Majesty has been Patron of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund for 50 years, and receipts from ticket sales for the performance will benefit the CTBF. The film was donated to the CTBF by EON Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Film Co.

The Royal Film Performance is usually attended by either The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales. In past years King George VI, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and The Princess of Wales have attended.

History
Known until 1948 as the Royal Command Film Performance, this is one of the highlights of the film industry's year.

The first Royal Command Film Performance was held at Marlborough House on 21 July 1896 before forty Royal guests.

The showing followed a request from pioneer cinematographer Birt Acres of New Barnet, Hertfordshire, to be allowed to exhibit publicly a film he had taken the previous month of The Prince and Princess of Wales attending the Cardiff Exhibition. Before giving his permission, The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) asked Acres to bring the film to Marlborough House for inspection.

It was screened in a specially erected marquee together with twenty other short films, including Tom Merry the Lightning Artist drawing Mr Gladstone and Lord Salisbury, the Derby Races of 1895 and 1896, Henley Regatta and scenes showing a boxing kangaroo, a great Northern Railway express train and the pursuit of a pickpocket.

The following year, in November 1897, H. J. Hitchins presented to Queen Victoria a selection of Diamond Jubilee and other films taken for the Lumière Cinematographe. They were accompanied by a full orchestra under the baton of Leopold Wenzel.

This was not the first time Queen Victoria had seen moving pictures, though the previous showing had been by the Court Photographer of a film he had made of the Royal Family, so cannot strictly speaking be called a Command Performance.

The first feature film presented by Royal Command was Cecil Hepworth's production of Coming Through the Rye, starring Alma Taylor, which was shown before Queen Alexandra in the State Dining Room of Marlborough House on 4 August 1916.

Hepworth was no stranger to Command Performances, having been present at the very first one when he had acted as assistant to Birt Acres. The first feature film to be presented by command of the Sovereign was Tom Brown's Schooldays, which Lew Waren exhibited for King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace on 24 February 1917.

More recent times
The current run of Royal Film Performances began in 1946 when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth took The Princess Elizabeth and The Princess Margaret to see David Niven and Marius Goring in A Matter of Life and Death.

A comprehensive list of Royal Film Performances during The Queen's reign is attached below.

Film premieres attended by members of the Royal Family
Not to be confused with the Royal Film Performance, film premieres often become Royal occasions when, in support of a charity with which they are connected, members of the Royal Family attend the gala opening of a particular film.

In many ways, such events very much resemble the Royal Film Performance but it is only the film shown at the latter occasion which may be described as the Royal film of the year.