The Queen gave a Scottish dancing lesson during the sailing trip

THE Queen gave a dance lesson to a helper during a sailing trip, a new book has revealed.

Her Majesty swept her top official onto the dance floor of the Royal Yacht Britannia and showed her some top moves.

The Queen, pictured at a state ball with Prince Philip in 1967, gave an assistant a dance lesson


The Queen, pictured at a state ball with Prince Philip in 1967, gave an assistant a dance lessonPhoto Credit: Hulton Archives – Getty

The monarch, who is known to have a fondness for Scottish dancing, discovered that the private secretary on duty, Mary Francis, had never tried it.

In a new book, Ms Francis reveals the Band of the Royal Marines performed a medley of Scottish roles and the Queen showed her assistant how to do ‘strathspey’ and ‘skip change’.

Mr Francis said: “There was a lovely evening when it turned out I had never done Scottish country dancing before.

“There was a dance at Balmoral because it always is. After dinner the Queen and the Duke said, ‘Well, we’ve got to teach you’.”

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In Queen of Our Times – The Life of Elizabeth II, royal author Robert Hardman describes the moment Her Majesty doled out the Strictly Come Dancing treatment.

Ms Francis added that amidst “the very cheerful atmosphere” the Queen would share amusing stories.

Ms Francis said: “It was the most relaxed thing I’ve ever seen at the Queen’s – and the only time I’ve seen her in slacks.

“Even during this holiday at sea, however, there would still be work to do. ‘I had to get the official papers given out by the Royal Navy.

“But there was never the slightest hint of, ‘Oh, I wish I could have a proper vacation without all of that.'”

The light-hearted dancing moment took place as the yacht sailed around the Western Isles in the 1990s, when Her Majesty is believed to have been in her 60s.

Ms Francis said: “In the morning it would be extremely informal and then a trip to a local beach for a picnic lunch where we left the Queen and Duke alone,” says Ms Francis

“There could be things like an early evening quiz that officers would take.

“Everyone was dressed up for the evening – long dresses and whatnot – but it still felt relaxed and informal.”

In a video clip from 1991 – around the time of the dance lesson – the Queen can be seen in fits of giggles as she dances at Balmoral with Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Prince Andrew.

At one point, the Queen dances in the middle of the group, surrounded by her nearest and dearest, including Princess Anne, Prince Philip and the Queen Mother.

Ms Francis added: “Any passenger would have similar stories.”

She said: “To the end, the yacht remained the sanctuary she had always been for the Queen.”

The book claims that Prince Charles was so in pain over the decommissioning of Britannia that he went “blind and insanely drunk”.

Commemorating the yacht’s decommissioning ceremony, the book reads: “With a biting wind blowing through Portsmouth Royal Naval Dockyard, it was a magnificent and miserable affair.

“The Royal Marines band held back one last surprise and ended up marching off to the tune of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Even the queen struggled to keep her composure, blinking back tears.” The Queen gave a Scottish dancing lesson during the sailing trip

Aila Slisco

Aila Slisco is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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