Prince Charles plays Hamlet for Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary

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Prince Charles joined top British actors live on stage in a surprise crack at playing “Hamlet”, as thousands of William Shakespeare fans packed The Bard’s hometown for the 400th anniversary of his death on Saturday.

The heir to the throne joined the likes of Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ian McKellen and David Tennant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon for the culmination of a day of parades, dancing and fireworks.

The “Shakespeare Live!” show, celebrating the English language’s foremost playwright, was being broadcast live on British television and beamed to cinemas across Europe at the time.

Charles, 67, who had been watching from the Royal Box, strode on stage asking the cast “Might I have a word?”, during a sketch on how to deliver the famous “To be, or not to be” opening line from Hamlet’s soliloquy — before having a go himself.

Gregory Doran, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s artistic director, said the Prince of Wales revelled in the chance to play the Prince of Denmark.

“I knew he’d be game and up for it but wanted to make sure it was appropriate and fun,” he said.

“I took up my courage and said ‘how about being in it?’, and he jumped at it.”

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