The Queen's 90th birthday celebrations hit a musical high on May 15, when talent from around the world converged at Windsor Castle to put on a remarkable show. Among the stellar lineup was Canada's own The Tenors, who had the pleasure of performing for Her Majesty for the second time.
The quartet, featuring Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters, Remigio Pereira and Victor Micallef, dazzled the crowd with performances of "Nessun Dorma" and "The Maple Leaf Forever." The latter was made even more poignant by the strong representation and celebration of the Commonwealth at the festivities. During the show, the monarch's famous musings over meeting Justin Trudeau, who made her "feel old," were featured. "It was so great that Canada was featured so prominently," Fraser tells Hello! Canada, adding, "The ties are incredibly close between the Commonwealth countries."
How would you sum up the experience of performing for the Queen? Clifton: It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At the end of the night all of the performers walked out onto the field in front of the royal box. And as all
the horses and performers were standing on guard, the Queen walked out, shook
our hands and then she got into her Range Rover and drove off
into the night as the whole stadium was applauding her and waving goodbye. It literally felt like we were in a fairytale of some kind. It was a magical,
Were any of you nervous about the performance? Fraser: We take every performance very seriously but it’s certainly another level of excitement and probably a few nerves. You’re in front of the Royal Family, and you know that there’s media from around the world there. It was quite a powerful “room” to be in for lack of a better word. We’ve performed at so many important things ... but even the Diamond Jubilee paled in comparison to this event and I think it was twice as big because it was broadcast internationally.
Did you share any special moments with the Royal Family? Fraser: We had a great chat with Prince Andrew, who we’ve met on several occasions. He was really happy to see us back and we had a good chance to catch up with him and also Prince Charles. He’s got a big job ahead of him in the future and the weight of following Her Majesty is quite something. Those are big shoes to fill. He’s a lovely man and it’s great that we have a relationship with him as well. On the red carpet he was very supportive of our performance, saying, “You guys just did a wonderful job and made Canada proud.”
Prince Philip noticed one of the Tenors was missing and
asked where the fourth was. “We might need you to fill in tomorrow night
on stage!” And he said, “Oh, sing? Well don't look at me then,”
as he smiled.
Prince Philip is known to joke around with guests... Fraser: The Queen's got a great sense of humour because Prince Philip is always following her up with jokes. Last time we were there he said, “You know you boys didn’t crack.” And this time around he said, “It’s great that you’re all still standing after a two-hour show outdoors.” He’s very off the cuff even in formal situations and you can tell that behind closed doors the Queen certainly has that in her. It’s just something that she can’t show as often in public.
Can you describe what tea with the Queen is like? Clifton: It was your traditional high tea. The tea was served with egg salad, ham and salmon sandwiches, pink macaroons, tea biscuits with jam and mini chocolate cupcakes decorated with Her Majesty's crest. The service was impeccable and the moment was unforgettable.
Fraser: The Queen went around the room and met each person. She just carries herself with such class and dignity. You sort of wait for her to speak, although we feel comfortable now because we’ve met her on several occasions. I just looked in her eyes and said “Happy Birthday Your Majesty." I sort of got chills when she just smiled back and said, “Thank you very much.”