The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the Royal Variety Perfromance for the first time. Reuters

In a break with royal tradition, it's been announced that Kate Middleton and Prince William will be attending the Royal Variety performance.

The star-studded event is usually attended by the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Last year saw the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall take their seats in the royal box with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh doing the honours in 2012. The Princess Royal took on the duty in 2011.

But never before have the younger royals been the guests of honour.

The announcement from Kensington Palace that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will take the Queen's place this year is perceived as further sign of the monarch's growing confidence in her grandson and his wife as her representatives on the international stage.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said in a statement: "The Duke and Duchess are delighted to attend the forthcoming Royal Variety Performance. Members of the Royal Family will continue to support the gala evenings. As with any other invitation, attendance by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will be assessed on a case-by-case basis."

The event, which will take place at the London Palladium, will be hosted by comedian Michael McIntyre.

Among the star performers on the night are Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Dame Shirley Bassey and Bette Midler, with comic turns from Russell Kane and Jack Whitehall.

US singer and actress Demi Lovato, Britain's Got Talent winners Collabro, the cast of multi-award winning musical Miss Saigon, critically acclaimed tenor Alfie Boe and Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Inala will also feature in the illustrious line up.

The Royal Variety Performance is held in aid of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund, of which the Queen is patron.

It's a royal tradition that began in 1912 with the first show staged in the presence of King George V and Queen Mary at the Palace Theatre in London.

It became an annual event at the suggestion of George V in 1921, when the King decreed that "the monarch, or a representative of the monarch, would attend an annual performance in aid of Brinsworth House and the Variety Artistes' Benevolent Fund, once a year thereafter."

Kate who is pregnant with the couple's second child was recently forced to cancel several public engagments after suffering from a chronic ante-natal sickness.

She seems to have put the worst of her preganncy blues behind her after she made a show stopping entrance at the Autumn Gala Evening dinner and reception at L'Anima Restaurant on Thursday (24 October) on behalf of the charity Action on Addiction.

The Queen, who has been scaling down her public engagements, will continue to take part in other key events, including this weekend's Remembrance Sunday commemorations.

The Royal Variety Performance will be screened on ITV in December.