Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Queen Elizabeth
The royal family loves a showtune! And who better to perform a lively song in front of the royals than a British stage superstar who happened to be dating Prince Edward?
Ruthie Henshall, a former girlfriend of Queen Elizabeth's youngest son, recalled a memorable royal family gathering at Balmoral Castle during the summer of 1992 when the singer — fueled by martinis served by Prince Charles and a nudge from Princess Diana — entertained the family.
Henshall, who made her West End debut in Cats in 1987 and dated Edward for six years in the '90s, was encouraged to sing a tune from Les Miserables by Princess Diana and Margaret.
"The Queen and Princess Margaret were singing a hymn and Diana said to me: 'Stop them singing hymns,'" Henshall told Hello! magazine. "And Margaret said: 'Oh yes, sing something from that show you're in.' So I sung I Dreamed A Dream."
John Stillwell - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images; Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images Ruthie Henshall and Prince Edward in the '90s
"I was so nervous I must have changed key three times because it suddenly it really was by royal command," she added. "Prince Charles had given me a couple of strong martinis, which was probably why I was able to sing."
Henshall said she has fond memories from her time spent with the royals.
"I don't think you ever forget who you're in the presence of, but you're looking at a family that is just hanging out together like any other family. They were all so welcoming and so lovely – and they're a laugh."
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images Ruthie Henshall
Henshall, who also starred in Billy Elliot, is preparing for a month-long run in the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical Passion at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester.
Henshall married Canadian actor Tim Howar in 2004. They went on to have two daughters before splitting in 2009.
Prince Edward went on to marry Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999. The couples has two children.