Hailed as the “undisputed Queen of the Brits”, Adele marked her big return to the UK with a successful night at the ceremony – giving a rare live performance and scooping three prizes.

The north London star won the first Brit Award of the evening – best song, for Easy On Me – and followed it up with the inaugural artist of the year gong, which replaced the male and female categories; and best album, for her fourth record, 30.

Winning the best artist award, Adele told the crowd that while she understood why the gendered prizes had been dropped, she loved being a female artist and wanted to celebrate women. “I am really proud of us,” she said in her speech.

Elsewhere, Wolf Alice, Sam Fender, Dua Lipa, Little Simz and Becky Hill also picked up awards, with Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish and Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak) taking home international prizes.

Ed Sheeran kicked off the event with a surprise performance alongside metal rockers Bring Me The Horizon.

The chart-topping singer, who released his fifth studio album titled Equals in October, took to the stage to perform his hit Bad Habits backed by the Sheffield-formed outfit and dancers wearing punk-inspired outfits.