Curtsying Dame Darcey Bussell to celebrate her long-standing friendship with the Queen with four-part road trip documentary drawing on the pair’s encounters… including the moment Her Majesty told her ballet wasn’t her preferred pastime
The former ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge will tour the country for a four-hour series called Darcey’s Royal Road Trip, visiting the Queen’s favourite places such as Ascot and the Highlands.
The programme will draw deeply on the 53-year-old dancer’s enduring friendship with the Queen, which began in the 1980s when she joined the Royal Ballet School in Richmond.
Queen meets President of the Royal Academy of Dance Darcey Bussell at the presentation of Coronation Award to choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne at Buckingham Palace, London
Pictured: The Queen talks to Darcey Bussell after her performance of Swan Lake at Earl’s Court
Their rapport grew as the Queen followed her career and they met dozens of times, including when Dame Darcey was appointed an OBE in 1995, a CBE in 2006 and made a dame in 2018.
Her balletic ability to curtsy more deeply than anyone else is a source of amusement in Palace circles, and the Queen is said to have made a quip about her flexibility in 2014 when it was noted the dancer dipped so low she ‘almost ended up on the floor’.
The Queen is patron of the Royal Academy of Dance but Dame Darcey, its president, has admitted that watching ballet is not the Queen’s preferred pastime. Once, after sitting through a three-hour performance, the Queen told her that she had seen enough ballet in one evening ‘to last her the whole year’.
Commenting on her upcoming TV series, Dame Darcey told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I’ve always had a deep and abiding affection for the Queen, so I’m particularly looking forward to embarking on this celebratory road trip.’
Pictured: Darcy Bussell and Zoltan Solymosi in the Royal Ballet production of Raymonda
Her manager Steven Howard added: ‘The documentary is about Darcey visiting various locations that have shaped the Queen’s identity and endeavouring to find out exactly what it is the Queen loves most about Britain and these wonderful locations.’
Channel 4 said: ‘There’s barely an inch of the country the Queen hasn’t visited during her 70 years on the throne, and now Darcey wants to visit some of the locations where the monarch left a lasting impression.’