Prince Charles stokes London orchestra rivalry

Prince Charles stokes London orchestra rivalry


norman lebrecht

April 27, 2021

The Prince of Wales has become Patron of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in its 75th year, it has been announced.

He is already Patron of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and its most unfluential fundraiser.

This will not go down well below stairs.




  • yujafan says:

    “unfluential” – really?
    Prince Charles is a well-known classical music lover, so why not be the Patron of two London orchestras – particularly if one has a “Royal” appellation?
    Further evidence of you stirring up a ‘story’ where none exists?

    • Allen says:

      “Further evidence of you stirring up a ‘story’ where none exists?”


    • Byrwec Ellison says:

      “Unfluential” is a great word! I’m going to start using it.

    • Pleasure says:

      Seventy five years? Really! Never heard that though he used to brought the late Princess Diana before they’re still married but never mentioned he’s the patron at those times.

    • Maria says:

      He is a fine cellist and I often saw him as himself, not as the Prince of Wales, at the opera. He is also our future King!

  • Herr Doktor says:

    As an American with no horse in the race so to speak, I have to say that it boggles my mind how so many in the royal family look completely German (which obviously is their lineage). Could Prince Charles look any more German than in this photograph? I think not.

    • The View from America says:

      “Herr Doktor” — American.


    • Old Bob says:

      Erm… how does one actually “look German”? What a silly comment!

    • Patricia says:


    • Well Adolf looked German and he was Austrian, something most austrians like to keep quiet about.

      • Herr Doktor says:

        In college, one of my professors for a German history class started the semester with a joke I’ve never forgotten: “You have to hand it to the Austrians. They’ve managed to make the world think that Beethoven was Austrian, and Hitler was German.”

      • La plus belle voix says:

        Reductio ad hitlerum. Time to leave the conversation.

      • Matthias says:

        You can’t tell Germans and Austrians apart by looking at them (they are also part of the same ethnicity).
        Practically no Austrian would deny that Hitler was Austrian. Ironically, the one Austrian who would deny it was Hitler himself, who was a German ultra-nationalist, hated the concept of an Austrian nation, and literally wiped the name ‘Austria’ off the map – he changed all the names into Ostmark, Oberdonau, Niederdonau, etc.

      • Patrick says:

        He was not Austrian any more when he began to do politics. He fought WW1 with the Bavarian Army and Austria denied him the Austrian nationality that he had acquired by birth. Hitler from then on was German.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Yes, and it’s working spectacularly well.

    • IC225 says:


      Please, enlighten us: what does a German look like?

      • You can’t mistake them….they are tall,have beady eyes,a smirk on their face and a large scar down the right cheek,you can’t miss them.Rather like crossing Waterloo Bridge at 8am in the 60s you could tell the englishmen,they all had bowlers.

    • Pleasure says:

      Yes, he does isn’t. Just watched with my lovely wife last Sunday in PBS Documentary their Heritage that they’re part German. I thought my wife was niggling me about it before till I watched and listened to the Documentary. She watched and read books about the Royal Family especially the late HRH Prince Philip family who saved the Jews to be persecuted.In Israel his aunt tomb in the Holy Sepulcher/ Church for all Nations. So there’s no racisms in their family.

    • BruceB says:

      I dunno, all those European royal families tend to resemble each other anyway… possibly because they’re all cousins.

    • Aren’t all the Anglo-Saxons German anyway? They are the Germanic tribes that invaded Britain back in the mists of time.

      It’s like being boggled that North Dakotans look like South Dakotans.

      • Oh for goodness sake,surely you can tell a North Dakotan from a South Dakotan.

      • Saxon says:

        It is not clear how many Anglo-Saxons actually migrated into Britain. Most “anglo-saxons” may well have been celts who adopted an anglo-saxon identity. In any case, almost everyone who is in England has ancestors who were immigrants in the last few hundred years (for example, over half the population have some Huguenot ancestors).

        The claim that these identities are biological and have biological markers which can distinguish how they look is absurd.

    • David Zersen says:

      Silly. What is the “German” look?

    • Maria says:

      I wouldn’t know what a German looked like, only when they open their mouths and speak German – or speak English with a dreadful accent and with th missing!!!

  • Debrett says:

    I seem to remember that the RPO’s patron was once the Queen.

    More recently the orchestra dumped Prince Andrew from the role.

    • Alexander Hall says:

      Are you sure about that? H.M. the Queen Mother was Patron of the RPO for many decades (though she had little more than a passing interest in classical music, unlike her second daughter), and when she died the Orchestra invited Prince Andrew to become its Patron. Now, wasn’t that an inspired choice?

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Having heard the Prince of Wales waxing so affectionately about “his” orchestra many times in the past, it calls into question how much loyalty he thinks he needs to demonstrate to the Philharmonia. There is no other Royal personage that is patron of two different orchestras.

    • Robert King says:

      HRH The Prince of Wales has also been Patron of the English Chamber Orchestra since 1977, is a strong supporter of theirs, and regularly comes to their concerts.

      There probably isn’t too much fear of dilution with his adding one more orchestra as he is already Patron of numerous musical charities including:
      – British Youth Opera
      – Live Music Now
      – Music in Country Churches
      – The Bach Choir
      – The Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra
      – The Royal Opera House
      – The Cornish Federation of Male Voice Choirs
      – The Tetbury Music Festival
      – one of the Handel House’s Trusts
      – The Harrogate International Festival

      He’s also President of the Associated Board (ABRSM), RCM, Three Choirs Festival and many dozens of wider ranging charities.

      Perhaps most pleasingly of all, I’ve just spotted that he’s Patron of the Goon Show Preservation Society.

      • Gus says:

        Also in Wales patron of Welsh National Opera and of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

      • Gus says:

        In Wales, Prince Charles is patron of the National Orchestra of Wales.

      • Alexander Hall says:

        The ECO hardly competes for exactly the same audiences who go to RPO and Philharmonia concerts, nor does it share the same concert venues, whereas two big symphony orchestras in London very much fight for attention in the same areas.

      • Bernard Jacobson says:

        The Prince’s Goon Show enthusiasm figures: let it not be forgotten that half a century ago he wrote the preface to “The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok” (sic).

  • Pleasure says:

    All I can say, this was an interesting topics of the day.

  • Gustavo says:

    What about the RSNO patronage?

    Is it still HRMQEII & The Royal Family?

  • Steve Birch says:

    As it is well-known, HRH Prince Charles has been a fervent supporter of Arts and Music throughout his life and spoke very movingly about the plight of the Arts world in general – and its future – during the height of the Pandemic, which is more than any of our pathetic British Politicians ever have. All power to him as well as the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, and all Orchestras throughout the world, at this time. We urgently need artistic and political unity just now and not articles aimed at striking division where there is none. Music and the Arts will be needed even more potently in the coming months and years ahead as we emerge and heal ourselves and those we love from the dark shadow of Lockdowns throughout the world. As for ‘unfluential’, you clearly need a proofreader. Am up for the challenge.

  • Anthony Sanderson says:

    The Queen Mother used to be the RPO’s patron. In fact, the first orchestral concert I ever went to was conducted by the late, great Rudolf Kempe and she was there. Obviously a woman of wonderful taste.

    It was said that when the RPO was in financial difficulties and without a permanent home, it was suggested to the QM that the RPO should lose its Royal title, the QM told the person who made the suggestion where to get off.

  • Garry Humphreys says:

    The Queen Mum was a great lover of music, a former Patron and President of the Royal College of Music (which she visited often) and a friend and supporter of Britten and Pears who, respectively, wrote and performed ‘A Birthday Hansel’ (settings of Burns poems) for the QM’s 75th birthday. Her published correspondence demonstrates again and again her deep love and understanding of music and literature, so having ‘little more than a passing interest in classical music’ could not be further from the truth.