Eurovision: Princess of Wales plays piano in surprise video appearance at Liverpool grand final

The Princess of Wales has made a surprise appearance in the opening sequence film for the grand final of this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Kate formed part of a pre-recorded video section that kicked off the show, and also featuring stars including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sam Ryder and Joss Stone.

In the film, she played a short, instrumental piano performance, which was recorded earlier this month in the Crimson Drawing Room of Windsor Castle.

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Wearing a one-shoulder royal blue gown - in a nod to Ukraine - and with her hair in loose curls, she sat against a backdrop of sparkling chandeliers and golden mirrors.

The piece of music was specially created for her by Joe Price and Kojo Samuel.

The video also featured last year's winner's Kalush Orchestra singing Stefania in the iconic Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro station in the heart of Kyiv, Ukraine.

Other appearances included rapper Ms Banks, professional ballet company Ballet Black and musician Bolt Strings.

Meanwhile in the auditorium, a troupe of drummers joined Kalush Orchestra on stage to open the grand final as pyrotechnics lit up the arena.

Twenty-six acts will perform to the 6000 strong arena audience and around1 60 million viewers watching all around the world.

Presenters Graham Norton, Hannah Waddingham, Ukrainian TV star Julia Sanina, and Alesha Dixon will host the show.

Following the performances, the show will build up to the winner announcement via a long voting process.

Current favourites to win are Sweden's Loreen and Finland's Kaajia, with UK's act, Mae Miller, hopeful of placing in the top ten.

A flag parade featuring all the countries showcased the performers ahead of their performances, which include classic Eurovision stunts including falling skirts, a trampoline, a striptease and plenty of structural props.

Kate's involvement isn't the first royal connection to the much loved contest, and follows King Charles and Queen Camilla's visit to Liverpool Arena last month.

During their visit the royal couple lit up the arena with lights to mark the opening ceremony and chatted to UK hopeful Mae Muller, with the King telling her: "We will be watching you with great interest - egging you on."

Sky News is in Liverpool covering all the latest from the contest as it happens.