Queen’s special talent in Scotland revealed by Darcey Bussell - and it’s not what we were expecting!

The Queen's special talent is something that ties in perfectly with an annual event held at Balmoral Castle during her summer breaks...

Queen's special talent revealed by Darcey Bussell, seen here at different events side by side
(Image credit: Future// Image 1: Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images // Image 2: Photo by Kirsty O'Connor - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen’s special talent in Scotland has been revealed by Dame Darcey Bussell and it might come as a surprise to many royal fans. 

  • Her Majesty traditionally travels to Balmoral each summer to enjoy a relaxing break until October and is often visited by her nearest and dearest. 
  • According to retired ballet dancer Darcey Bussell, the Queen is no stranger to taking to the dancefloor in Scotland and used to “stay up late” to enjoy dances.  
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The Queen might have spent much of the past few years at Windsor Castle, but it won’t be long before she’s expected to travel to Scotland for her traditional summer break. Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire is thought to be one of the monarch’s favorite residences. And it’s here that she enjoys an annual holiday away from the spotlight, typically spending August-October there and often inviting other members of The Firm (opens in new tab), including the Queen’s great-grandchildren (opens in new tab) to spend time with her.

With acres of stunning countryside surrounding Balmoral, the Queen is said to enjoy walks and picnics during these well-deserved holidays. And according to retired ballet dancer and former Strictly judge Dame Darcey Bussell, the Queen’s special talent has often been showcased in Scotland too…

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with their children, Prince Andrew (centre), Princess Anne (left) and Charles, Prince of Wales sitting on a picnic rug outside Balmoral Castle in Scotland

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with three of their children sitting on a picnic rug outside Balmoral Castle in Scotland

(Image credit: Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

As reported by Express.co.uk (opens in new tab), Darcey reportedly opened up on ITV daytime (opens in new tab) show, Lorraine, about her new Channel 4 show, Royal Road Trip, which premiered on July 19th. The programme sees the iconic dancer explore places that have “shaped our monarch’s identity”. And it seems that Balmoral visits provided the Queen with the perfect opportunity to put her dancing skills to the test!

“I did appreciate that the Queen has done a lot of Scottish dancing over her 70 years as monarch,” Darcey is said to have claimed, before going on to explain that, “The Ghillies Ball is a very important part of that.”

The Ghillies Ball is the name given to dances that are traditionally held every year in the magnificent Ballroom of Balmoral Castle during Her Majesty’s stay, with the exceptions being 2020 and 2021. 

Princess Elizabeth of York, future Queen Elizabeth II, with a royal stuart tartan sash, dances with David Bogle at the Aboyne Ball in 1949

Princess Elizabeth of York, future Queen Elizabeth II, dances with David Bogle at the Aboyne Ball in 1949

(Image credit: Photo by -/INTERCONTINENTALE/AFP via Getty Images)

Guests generally include estate and castle staff, neighbours and members of the local community as well as the royals. According to Darcey, the monarch wasn’t one to miss out on all the fun and would stay up late to enjoy the occasion to the full. 

The professional dancer continued, “It’s funny isn’t it, because I didn’t imagine that she [the Queen] would be a keen dancer. But apparently she did every dance and she’d stay up late into the night and be there to just enjoy it.”

The monarch has also been pictured dancing at other events in Scotland over the years, like the Aboyne Ball in 1949. It's not yet known whether the Ghillies Ball dances will return in 2022, though if it does, her “episodic mobility problems” (opens in new tab) might sadly mean the Queen’s special talent isn’t showcased this year.

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However, it's thought that the Queen will get to enjoy plenty of quality time with her family. The Aberdeenshire home and the surrounding highlands also likely hold precious memories of her late husband, Prince Philip.

Shortly after his sad passing last year, the Queen shared a deeply personal photo taken by her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex of her and Philip relaxing at the top of the Coyles of Muick in 2003. 

This is said to be one of her favourite places near Balmoral and whenever she stays at her Scottish home, the Queen might well reflect upon these happy times there.

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.