Today 24th June 2016, the President of the RAD, Darcey Bussell CBE, escorted Sir Matthew Bourne to Buckingham Palace to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation (QEII) Award from Her Majesty The Queen.
Internationally accepted as one of the most coveted honours in the world of dance, the QEII is the RAD's most prestigious award. It was instituted in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and was first bestowed in 1954 to Dame Ninette De Valois. Since then it has been awarded nearly every year to personalities in recognition of outstanding services to the art of ballet. This year however, was the first time that the award has been presented by the Queen herself.
After the presentation, Darcey Bussell hosted a champagne luncheon in honour of Sir Matthew in the ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park. He was joined by the luminaries of the entertainment and dance world, including his own company dancers. Others in attendance were choreographer Arlene Phillips, Strictly judges Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli, designer Jasper Conran and comedienne and actress Dawn French.
Following a special ceremony in which Sir Matthew received a citation by New York Times dance critic Alistair Macaulay, students from the RAD also performed before presenting him with a print of a pair of red ballet shoes. The print, donated by Darcey Bussell, was signed by all guests in attendance as thanks to Sir Matthew ahead of the world premiere of his new ballet, The Red Shoes.
This year the QEII award and its celebrations have been kindly sponsored by Coutts who have also supported the design and production of the medal itself, produced by Bigbury Mint.
The RAD would also like to thank Bruno Wang and the Pure Land Foundation for their generous support, the Mandarin Oriental, and Moët Hennessy for kindly providing Veuve Clicquot Champagne.