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Sharing stage secrets: Berwick Kaler talks to Princess Beatrice. Photographs: Richard McDougall

Princess Beatrice came face to face with her Great Great Great Great Grandma in York on Tuesday (December 9). And both the princess and Queen Victoria were, it seems, amused.

Except that it wasn’t really Victoria, but her lookalike, ‘Dame’ Berwick Kaler, in one of his typically understated costumes for this year’s York Theatre Royal pantomime, Old Mother Goose.

He also presented her with some very special gifts – a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale and a Wagon Wheel.

Princess Beatrice was treated to a sneak preview of the show when she paid a visit to the rehearsals in her role as Royal Patron of the theatre.

The princess was introduced to several of the stars including Britain’s longest-serving pantomime dame, writer and director of the show Berwick Kaler; his veteran sidekick Martin Barrass; and Suzy Cooper, York’s favourite principal boy.

She was given a tour of the set by Berwick’s co-director Damian Cruden, who is also the Theatre Royal’s artistic director.

Also on her visit, Princess Beatrice was shown plans for the major redevelopment of the theatre in 2015.

But perhaps as someone who shares a name with the youngest child of Queen Victoria, it will be her meeting with the titian-haired dame that will be her most vivid memory of the day.

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