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Prince Charles and Camilla

The Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Darcey Bussell come together in engagement celebrating dance

For her first engagement as Vice-Patron of the Royal Academy of Dance, the Duchess of Cornwall attended the On Point: Royal Academy of Dance at 100 at the Victoria and Albert Museum with Dame Darcey Bussell. They were shown the exhibition by Jane Pritchard, the Curator of Dance, Theatre and Performance at the V&A, and Eleanor Fitzpatrick, the Archives and Records Manager for the RAD. 

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While visiting the exhibition, Camilla was able to see many famous ballet costumes, belonging to famed dancer Rudolf Nureyev, and even one of Bussell’s own costumes. There are several different artefacts on display that not only chronicle the RAD’s history but also 100 years of ballet history. She and Bussell posed at the ballet barre that has been installed for the exhibition. 

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The Duchess was announced as Vice-Patron in 2020 during a Zoom call with the RAD. In the April 2020 call, she revealed that after seeing a Silver Swans class at an engagement, she joined the program herself. The Silver Swans program is for people 55 and older, and requires no ballet or dance experience. It is meant to promote flexibility, mobility, and stamina, and is open to everyone. She gathered a group of her friends to create their own Silver Swans class, and has said that programs like this are incredibly important for older people as they cope with osteoporosis and other conditions.

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The RAD has been thrilled with the Duchess’s support. In an RAD article on the visit to the V&A, Luke Rittner CBE, RAD Chief Executive said: “We announced HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s role as Vice-Patron of the Royal Academy of Dance last year, which was when the Academy officially turned 100. As we continue to mark this milestone, it is very fitting for Her Royal Highness to learn more about our rich history through this display at the V&A. We were absolutely thrilled to be able to give The Duchess this special tour of the display, particularly as we celebrate the reopening of museums and theatres, as well as the return to dance classes across the UK.”

While the Duchess was announced as Vice-Patron in 2020, The Queen has served as President of the Royal Academy of Dance since 1953. The RAD received its Royal Charter from her father, King George VI in 1936, and a coat of arms from the College of Arms in 1937. 

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Historian and blogger at AnHistorianAboutTown.com