Frank Skinner recalls ‘awkward’ exchange with Prince Edward and Countess of Wessex

Frank Skinner has revealed that the Countess of Wessex criticised his performance of “Three Lions” in an uncomfortable exchange that also involved Prince Edward.

The comedian and actor opened up about the unprecedented conversation during his Absolute Radio show at the weekend.

Comedy duo Skinner and David Baddiel performed their hit football anthem at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday (1 December) as part of the Royal Variety Performance.

The 65-year-old explained that he had arrived at rehearsals feeling unwell, but went ahead with the show.

Playing to a full house and a host of celebrities, the 65-year-old revealed that the royal reception they received was less than complimentary, however.

“I was gradually getting more ill, and more ill, as the day went on,” he explained. “I was struggling. We were singing “Three Lions”. So I croaked my way through the dress rehearsal.

“And then, on the night, we did the show. It actually hurt to sing it. Four minutes of hurt never stopped me singing. I was in physical pain.

“Then we had our royal thing. Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex.”

Rather than the usual small talk, Sophie was forthwright in her opinion of his performance.

Frank Skinner and David Baddiel take a selfie with fans in the crowd during the UEFA Euro 2020 championship

(Getty Images)

“Sophie led the way, bearing in mind I’d had a really hard day and I battled on like a trooper. So she comes up and she says ‘Well, don’t give up your day job’.

“I thought ‘This is not how the royal walk thing works’. And we honestly said ‘Pardon?’ It’s supposed to be just banal compliments.

“I said ‘Was it that bad?’ And she said: ‘Well, you know, I could tell, you know, it’s not what you do’.

“And I said ‘Erm, well, normally we’re like comics’. She said, ‘Yeah, but you’re on screen aren’t you, you’re not used to a live crowd’.

“I said: ‘Well we’ve done a bit of live stuff you know, stand-up and stuff’. But she’s sticking with it and she said ‘Yeah, but you haven’t done anywhere the size of this’.

“I said ‘Look, I did the Palladium last Sunday’.

“She looked at me like ‘you’re not supposed to be arguing, I don’t think you’re supposed to be arguing with me, you’re supposed to just nod’. It was like a really awkward thing.”

Skinner went on to say that Prince Edward also came up to him and Baddiel and criticised their performance.

He said that while he could not recall his exact words, he remembered sarcastically replying “that’s a good review”.

The comedian felt their conversational efforts were somewhat lacking for people of their stature.

“I think what’s happened is they don’t really do this stuff much, and they’ve (the royals) been reduced in numbers for various reasons, and so they’ve been pulled out to do this and it’s a bit of a skill just talking to someone for 10 minutes and not upsetting them.”

He added that Prince Edward eventually ran out of things to say to him: “There was a bit where it just died, the conversation it never happens with the royals it just like died.

“There was a moment where it was probably three seconds, but it felt like 10 minutes, he said ‘So, things are well?’ And I thought ‘No. Come on’. And in the end I started to think I wanted to put my arm round him a bit. I think it’s tough,” he said.

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