Constructed in 1732 as the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, the venue received a theatrical patent from the King, allowing drama to be performed. (The only other theatre with that privilege was the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.)
Despite its dramatic leanings, composer Handel took a liking to the place and debuted many of his compositions there in the 1700s, as well as leaving it his organ in his will. With the drama patents dropped in 1843, the theatre no longer had exclusive drama rights, and chose to rebrand itself as the Royal Italian Opera.
Post World War II, the Sadler’s Wells Ballet company took up residence, and along with the newly formed Covent Garden Opera company took over the space, both earning the titles ‘Royal Ballet’ and ‘Royal Opera’ over the years.