Twas The Night Before Christmas – Poetry News December 25th

Our Christmas Day poetry news round up takes a look at a recording of a beloved Christmas poem recorded by The Prince of Wales for the Artists’ Benevolent Fund.

“Twas the Night Before Christmas”

HRH The Prince of Wales has been joined this Christmas by a host of stars to make a special recording of the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore.

The Prince was approached by the Actors’ Benevolent Fund, for whom he is Patron, regarding the difficulties that the arts have found themselves facing the pandemic.

The much-loved poem, a popular choice on Christmas Eve, has been read by generations of children over the years as they await the arrival of Father Christmas.

The Prince came up with the idea of having a group reading of the poem, and in addition to himself and the Duchess of Cornwall the cast features some of the theatres own “royalty”. The actors who have helped to put together the recording were invited to Clarence House, where each person read a few lines of the poem for the recording.

The recording was filmed against a backdrop of roaring fires and twinkling Christmas tree lights and the result is a beautiful performance that brings together some of the best-loved voices of stage and screen. The Prince opens the recording reading the first few lines of the poem.

The Duchess follows with her lines. She is followed by Ncuti Gatwa the actor who starred in Sex Education, he is followed by Dame Maggie Smith who is pictured sitting in front of a fire, a photo of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the background.

Next, it is the turn of the president of the ABF, Dame Penelope Keith, she is followed by Tom Hardy and then Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench. The poem was recorded in a number of different rooms at Clarence House including the morning room, the garden room, and the hallway.

The recordings all took place over the last two weeks with only Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench unable to visit Clarence House; their segments were filmed elsewhere. All Covid-19 protocols were followed to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the filming.

It is hoped that the recording, which was released at 10 am on Christmas Eve on the Clarence House social media platforms will help to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the ABF during these difficult times.

It is believed that Moore wrote the poem for his family in 1822 for Christmas Eve, it is sometimes referred to as “A Visit from St Nicholas”.

This particular poem was also used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge earlier in the month when they narrated a video of their visit to the London Palladium to see a pantomime with their young family. Their version was a rewritten one inspired by the children of keyworkers and the surprise of a gift from Hamley”s toy shop that they received after the pantomime.

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