The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed that she has been taking ballet classes and has spoken about the importance of active ageing, particularly during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Camilla, 72, took part in a video conversation with former Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Darcey Bussell and Angela Rippon CBE to mark International Dance Day on 29 April.
WATCH: Camilla talks about her love of dance with Dame Darcey and Angela
Speaking from her Scottish home, Birkhall, the royal discussed her new role as vice patron of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) of which Dame Darcey is President, as she spoke about her experience participating in Silver Swans, an initiative created especially for older learners using ballet to improve mobility, posture, coordination and energy levels. The Duchess said: "I had certainly never done ballet before, and it doesn't matter whether you have done ballet or not, it's something that will make you feel better. It gives you a certain amount of confidence in yourself, it's just a bit of discipline."
When asked by Silver Swans ambassador Angela how she was keeping active during the COVID-19 lockdown, Camilla revealed she had been taking the online Silver Swans classes, as well as doing Pilates and enjoying long walks.
The Duchess during her video call with Angela and Dame Darcey
The Duchess previously visited the RAD's headquarters in Battersea in February 2018, where she met a group of Silver Swans students and watched performances by participants from the organisation's other programmes. During her tour to New Zealand in 2019 with husband Prince Charles, Camilla also made a stop at a Silver Swans class in Christchurch.
During the current crisis, the Royal Academy of Dance have launched a free online series of Silver Swans classes, with a new video available every Wednesday via their website and social media channels.
Camilla during her visit to the RAD with the Silver Swans in 2018
Speaking about her new role as vice patron of RAD, the Duchess said: "It's a real honour for me to be asked. My visit there was so memorable, first of all because of the Silver Swans, but actually meeting everybody. It had a wonderful feeling of comradeship and also, it's such a happy place. I think dancing makes you happy!"
Dame Darcey added: "We are utterly delighted that the Duchess of Cornwall is going to be the Vice-Patron of the Royal Academy of Dance. It was such an honour to have the opportunity to discuss the work of the RAD in more detail with Her Royal Highness. Ballet is a brilliant tool that you can use in every part of your life; it's perfect for improving stability, posture, your core. It was fantastic to hear how the Duchess has benefited from dancing, and I hope she continues to enjoy her Silver Swans ballet classes."
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