Princess of Wales tells of Lang Lang inspiration for budding pianist Princess Charlotte

4 December 2023, 12:28 | Updated: 4 December 2023, 12:52

Princess Charlotte conducts orchestra in Platinum Jubilee celebrations

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

‘If you practise a lot, you can be like him’, the Princess of Wales told her daughter Charlotte, referring to Chinese piano virtuoso Lang Lang.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

During the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday night, the Princess of Wales met superstar pianist Lang Lang – and told him that her 8-year-old daughter, Princess Charlotte, is learning to play the piano.

Lang Lang recalled: “We talked about Charlotte. Her Royal Highness talked about Charlotte’s piano playing, I’m sure she’s good.

“Her Royal Highness said to me that she said to Princess Charlotte, ‘Hey, look, if you practise a lot you can be like him’,” the pianist added, according to Hello! Magazine.

Lang Lang was performing with 15-year-old Lucy, a blind and neurodivergent pianist who won Channel 4’s The Piano this year and will soon star in her own documentary.

“Her Royal Highness was asking me about how long we were practising together, and how we discovered Lucy,” he said. “We were talking about how we found her in Leeds Train Station, and how everything happened magically and how I’m so happy to play with her.”

Read more: Blind pianist Lucy stuns Royal Albert Hall with breathtaking Debussy debut

Lucy and Lang Lang at the Royal Variety Performance
Lucy and Lang Lang at the Royal Variety Performance. Picture: Getty

The Princess of Wales would have seen Lucy perform a few months ago at the Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle, in May. Lucy has since captured imaginations around the world with her incredible musical expression – a clip of her playing Debussy’s mesmerising Arabesque at Classic FM Live went viral in October with over 10 million views.

During their conversation, Lang Lang and Princess Kate also discussed the acoustics at the Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s leading concert halls.

“I played two shows last week, it’s always great to play here,” the pianist told the royal, who attended the performance with her husband the Prince of Wales, along with Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden, who were on a visit to the UK.

“I really love it here because they have very precise equipment, to make it sound like a smaller concert hall.”

The Princess of Wales grew up bathed in music, beginning piano lessons herself at a young age before switching her attentions to the flute and singing.

The royal played throughout her school years at St Andrew’s in Berkshire, including in the chamber orchestra and a senior flute group named the ‘Tootie-Flooties’. Friends have also said she was a deputy head chorister in the chapel choir.

Lang Lang stuns St Pancras train station with impromptu piano duet with wife Gina Alice

Her former piano teacher Daniel Nicholls, who taught Catherine between the ages of 11 and 13, remarked in 2012: “She was absolutely lovely, a really delightful person to teach the piano.

“I don’t think anyone would say she was going to be a concert pianist, but she was good at it, she always did everything she was told,” he added.

In recent years, the Princess of Wales has explored her pianistic talents in a more public capacity, making a cameo appearance at the 2021 Royal Carols: Together at Christmas concert, where she played a piano accompaniment for singer Tom Walker in a service at Westminster Abbey, and playing the following year to support the Eurovision Song Contest.

In 2017, Princess Kate was handed the baton to conduct the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra in the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony at the Elbphilharmonie, as part of a royal trip to Germany.

Her daughter followed in her footsteps five years later, playfully conducting an orchestra during the royal family’s visit to Cardiff Castle for a Platinum Jubilee concert in Wales.

Music clearly runs in this family…

Classic FM Live returns to the Royal Albert Hall in April 2024 for a night of classical music anthems! Get your tickets here.