Normally the Royal Box is populated by the Royal Opera House's dearest and closest and deepest-pocketed friends.
But for tonight's Aida gala opening the elaborate drapes and garlands hanging beneath it evidenced that HM the rightful owner had commandeered it for her first-born and his hobbling, stick-borne wife, clad in a glamorous silvery sequinned outfit that made her resemble a salmon on crutches.
Now Prince Charles is not known to be an opera buff, and he probably thought like most people that Aida is something to do with elephants and bellowing fat ladies, distinguishable from each other only by the amount of noise they're making.
Topless dancers enacting mass human sacrifice to propitiate the gods probably didn't enter his preconceptions, but then I doubt if he's seen a David McVicar production before.
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Here they are coming in, blissfully unaware of what's in store:
And here's what they got:
photos: Bill Cooper / Royal Opera House
The entrance of the royal couple was captured on video by the BBC.