Last night, the audience for the London production of Hamilton included a guy named Prince Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor, Duke of Sussex, KCVO. He was there (with wife Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex) to raise money for his charity and, presumably, to weep ugly tears through “It’s Quiet Uptown.” Afterwards, he got up, stood in front of the cast, and gave a nice little speech about the show and the money the evening had raised, and I promise we will return to that very important stuff in just a moment.
But first, Prince Harry sang just a tiny little bit of a song from Hamilton and to a history nerd who is also a musical theater nerd like me, it is delicious.
Those two words (in a nice, robust voice, Your Highness) are from the beginning of “You’ll Be Back,” a song that belongs to King George III. It’s a Beatles-influenced piece of comic relief that also underscores the reality of war (“I will kill your friends and family...”) which crops up relatively early in Hamilton’s first act. It is a delightful little ditty, but it also basically a guy in a fancy-dancy costume pitching a holy fit about the American Revolution while threatening his subjects with the murder of their loved ones. It also contains not one but two allusions to the fact that George III would eventually deal with mental illness, possibly caused by exposure to arsenic.
In the play, George III is funny, and a total dick. So while yes, it is very charming that Harry sang on stage, what makes it wonderful is that what he sang on stage was a snippet from a song that’s kind of mean to a guy who is both his sixth-times and fifth-times great-grandfather. And that is deliciously self-aware and strange.
Anyway, the event raised money for Sentebale, a charity co-founded by the Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso in 2006. Ahem:
We help the most vulnerable children in Lesotho and Botswana get the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives. Sentebale works with local grassroots organisations to help these children—the victims of extreme poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Together, we’re making a big difference to these children’s lives. We can do even more with your help.
That is very cool, and makes us kind of want to enthusiastically stamp our feet the way Lin-Manuel Miranda does in that video.