Camilla Reveals Her Fitness Regime Includes Ballet After Joining ‘Silver Swans’ Dance Class

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Hot on the heels of releasing her isolation reading list, The Duchess of Cornwall let royal fans in on her new fitness regimen, which includes an online ballet class. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

It’s one thing for a royal to be a patron of dance, but it’s quite another to pirouette around your living room, especially at 72.

The Duchess of Cornwall surprised everyone Wednesday on International Dance Day when she admitted she had joined an organization for ballet learners over 55 called Silver Swans and had been practicing her plies in an effort to keep fit.

“I do a combination of a bit of Silver Swans and a bit of Pilates and a lot of walking, which I love,” Camilla Parker-Bowles told broadcaster Angela Rippon and former ballerina Dame Darcy Bussell, a judge on the popular U.K. reality show Strictly Come Dancing, and  in a Zoom call posted on the @clarencehouse Instagram account this week.

“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.”

Watch their Zoom call below


Parker-Bowles, who was announced as the new vice patron of the Royal Academy of Dance on Wednesday, said she and four “ancient friends” had been doing weekly classes with the academy’s Silver Swans for about a year and a half.

“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.”

The Queen has been a patron of the Royal Academy of Dance, which turns 100 this year, since 1953. The dance organization trains teachers, but also runs several programs to encourage newbies to take up ballet, including boys, primary school children with special needs and, of course, those over 55. Silver Swans is specially designed to help older people improve mobility, posture and coordination, as well as provide social connections for the silver dance set.

It wasn’t clear whether Parker-Bowles was continuing classes remotely while in lockdown with Prince Charles at Birkhall in Scotland, but the academy is offering free Silver Swans classes once a week via its website.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall poses for a group photo with Elaine Paige, Angela Rippon and the rest of the Silver Swans during her 2018 visit to the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England. Photo: Eddie Mulholland/ Pool/Getty Images

She has practiced at home, saying she was “very much a beginner,” and joking that she was “certainly not going to be taking to the stage.”

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

Parker-Bowles always loved dancing, but had never tried ballet before she joined.

“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,” the Duchess said.

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

Parker-Bowles visited the Royal Academy of Dance in February 2018 to learn about the Silver Swans program. And when she and Prince Charles were on their Royal Tour of New Zealand in November 2019, she visited a Silver Swans class in Christchurch and watched them demonstrate some steps.

She said the COVID-19 lockdown has been “very peculiar,” but said it hadn’t stopped her “workaholic” husband, the Prince of Wales. “He will work wherever he is, so he’s sitting at his desk now working away.”


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