British ballet dancer Dame Darcey Bussell has revealed she recently discovered she once lived in the same house as the Queen.
During filming of a new Channel 4 series about the Queen’s passions in life, the former Strictly Come Dancing judge discovered the Queen spent the first year of her life living at White Lodge in Richmond.
The lodge was later loaned to the Royal Ballet School where Dame Darcey, 53, trained and boarded from the age of 13.
Speaking to the Daily Mail about the discovery, she said: “It’s strange because when you embark on a project like this, you want to make a connection, and obviously we have our links through
the arts, with the Queen being a patron of so many of the companies and charities I’ve been involved in.
“But I had no idea we had once shared a home.”
The ballerina became a judge on the Strictly panel permanently in 2012 after making several guest appearances on the BBC One show.
In April 2019 she announced she was leaving the series to focus on other dance commitments.
Dame Darcey went on to add: “I knew White Lodge had royal history but I hadn’t appreciated that the Queen’s parents were living there when she was born, long before they knew that her father would become king.
“It was completely surreal to think that the studio that I trained and sweated in as a young student was the royal family’s living room.
“All of us who went through that school knew it was a special place – it has a sort of aura about it – but it was nice to learn the history of somewhere I knew so well.”
After training at the Royal Ballet School, Dame Darcey went on to become the then youngest ever principal dancer at the Royal Ballet in 1989 when she was just 20.
In 2006 she announced she was retiring as a principal ballerina and she performed her last dance in June 2007.
She was made a dame in the Queen’s 2018 New Year Honours list for her services to dance.
During filming of Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip, the dancer also recalled memories of meeting the Queen and attending the same events as her, and revealed “if she’s able to dance the night away, she will”.
She said: “She loved to dance with everybody who worked with her – one of the things I discovered was how much she values community.
“I’d never really thought about her as a dancer, but I’ve been lucky enough to be at a few events with her and it made me realise she makes the most of dancing if she can.
“If she’s able to dance the night away, she will.
“In June 2000 I went to the most wonderful joint birthday party at Windsor Castle, which ranged from the Queen Mother’s 100th to Prince William’s 18th.
“My husband and I were dancing and I suddenly realised the Queen was behind me dancing as well, smiling away and having a lovely time.
“You definitely took extra care not to bump into her though.”