Katherine Jenkins on singing for the Queen

Operatic beauty shares stories on royal bookings, her TV guilty pleasures and why she’d like to bring back Spooks

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You’re singing again for the Queen – you’re getting to be a royal favourite.

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I don’t know how many times I’ve performed before her. I should have counted. I’ve sung at the Royal Variety Performances three or four times, I’ve been invited for lunch at Buckingham Palace and to garden parties… you never get used to it.

What will you be singing for the coronation gala concert?

I’m really not sure what I’m allowed to say! They want lots of different things with a patriotic element, but also really upbeat and uplifting.

Do you ever get the jitters?

I don’t get nervous generally but they do creep in during this sort of situation because you realise what a massive occasion it is with so many people watching, people you’re representing, and you want to be your best. You think, “Gosh, this is massive, I need to pull it out of the bag.”

You’re sharing the stage with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who’s very dismissive of crossover singers. Isn’t that awkward?

The thing is – and I truly believe this – I don’t think Dame Kiri ever says these things. I think she’s been misquoted, as is so often the case. When I met her, she was a lovely person, so I’m going to ignore it.

Is it true you’re also going to be singing on P&O cruise ships?

Yes, that’s at the end of the year. It’s just a couple of concerts, which will be really fun.

What can’t you miss on telly?

Right now I’m into The White Queen; before that it was Game of Thrones. I’m a bit of a history geek so anything with ruffles is right up my street – The Borgias, and I loved The Tudors when that was on.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Four Weddings [Sky Living]. It’s not the romance; it’s seeing how catty women become in that scenario. When it comes to weddings, people are always so quick to slate everybody else and adding a competition element to that takes it to another level of rudeness!

What’s the last thing that brought a tear to your eye?

A programme about a girl born with an abnormally shaped brain but still managing to live her life – I find things like that inspirational.

Favourite film?

Forrest Gump is my favourite and also makes me cry.

If you were BBC controller…

I’d bring back Spooks. There are some really good dramas at the moment and I’m more inclined towards those than reality shows.

You couldn’t be tempted by any?

I did Dancing with the Stars last year and I absolutely loved doing that. But I feel like that’s me done with reality TV.

What’s your morning routine?

I get up and do some exercise so I put on music that’s high-energy, quite light, quite cheesy to get me in the mood. My current favourites are that song by Armin van Buuren, This Is What It Feels Like, Daft Punk, Rihanna, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

What lulls you to sleep?

I’ll watch something I’ve recorded to try to calm myself down, or listen to something chilled like Eva Cassidy or Adele.

Who was your first crush?

Jason Donovan in Neighbours. I told him when we all sang on the The X Factor final one year. He just laughed.

Do you ever Google yourself?

It’s dangerous to get into reading stuff about yourself on the internet. That’s a road to upset.


QUICKFIRE Q&A

Eastenders or Corrie? Eastenders

Radio 3 or Classic FM? Classic FM

Modern Family or Mock the Week? Mock the Week

Luther or The Returned? Subtitles for me – The Returned

Wimbledon or the Ashes? Wimbledon


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The Queen’s Coronation Festival Gala is on Saturday, BBC1