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Prince Charles and Camilla

The Duchess of Cornwall reveals she has been having secret dance lessons for the past 18 months

Camilla dancing with royal photographer Arthur Edwards at an engagement in 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed that for the last 18 months she has secretly been having dance lessons with her “ancient friends.”

Speaking to Dame Darcey Bussell and Angela Rippon to mark International Dance Day, the 72-year-old Duchess said her weekly lessons have left her “groaning, huffing and grunting.”

Camilla has been enjoying her weekly ballet lessons with the Royal Academy of Dance Silver Swans classes for around 18 months.

The lessons are specially designed for older learners, trainers specialising in teaching ballet techniques for the over 55s.

In her video call to Dame Darcey and Angela, Camilla said: “I do a combination of a bit of Silver Swans and a bit of Pilates and a lot of walking which I love.”

She added: “We’ve all got to keep active.

“If we don’t we’ll seize up and won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.”

HRH was inspired to start dance lessons after visiting a Silver Swans class in New Zealand last year. 

She said: “Sarah, the wonderful teacher, said to me ‘Would you ever consider having a lesson?’, so I got a group of ancient friends together and the four of us sort of clatter around, and when we’re in London, we do it once a week and it makes all the difference.

“I thought it was going to be very funny and I was going to laugh at everybody toppling over next door to me, but I think we concentrate so hard we don’t even know what our friend next door is doing.

“When I stand there I think to myself, ‘Drop your shoulders, breathe deeply, don’t hunch’.

“It’s those sort of things which you have ingrained in your memory.

“I’m very, very much a beginner and probably will always remain a beginner, but I do feel after a year, or 18 months, of doing it that maybe I’ve improved a tiny bit.

“But I’m certainly not going to be taking to the stage.

“I shall keep it in my own home very privately.”