The Queen gave aide a Scottish dancing lesson during sailing trip


THE Queen gave an aide a dance lesson during a sailing trip, a new book has revealed.

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

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

The monarch – known to have a love of Scottish dancing – discovered duty private secretary Mary Francis had never tried it.

In a new book Ms Francis reveals the Band of the Royal Marines struck up a medley of Scottish reels and the Queen showed her aide how to ‘strathspey’ and ‘skip-change’.

Mr Francis said: “There was one lovely evening when it emerged that I had never done Scottish country dancing.

“There would be a dance at Balmoral, because there always is. After dinner, the Queen and the Duke said, ‘Well, we’ll have 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 among “the very happy atmosphere” the Queen would be holding forth with amusing stories.

Ms Francis said: “It was the most relaxed I have ever seen the Queen – and the only time I’ve seen her wear casual trousers.

“Even during these holidays at sea, however, there would still be work to do. ‘I had to take in the official papers that got dropped off by the Royal Navy.

“But there was never the slightest hint of, ‘Oh, I wish I could have a real holiday, without any of this’.”

The light-hearted dancing moment took place while the yacht was sailing through the Western Isles, during the 1990s, it is believed, when Her Majesty would have been in her 60s.

Ms Francis said: “During 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 the Duke alone,’ says Ms Francis

“There might be things like an early evening quiz that the officers would compere.

“In the evening, everybody was dressed up – long dresses and so on – 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: “Every passenger would have similar stories.”

She said: “Right up to the end, the yacht remained the sanctuary it had always been for the Queen.”

The book claims Prince Charles was so wrought with pain over the decommissioning of Britannia he got “blindly, madly drunk”.

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Recalling the ceremony to decommission the yacht, the book reads: “With a biting wind blowing through Portsmouth Royal Naval Dockyard, it was both a magnificent and miserable affair.

“The Band of the Royal Marines held back one last surprise, marching off at the end to the tune of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Even the Queen struggled to retain her composure, blinking back the tears.”