IT was a case of cha cha cha rather than ho ho ho for the Duchess of Cornwall when she met the stars of the festive edition of Strictly Come Dancing.
Brendan Cole, the so-called “bad boy” of Strictly, got Camilla on to her feet when judges, professional dancers and past contestants filmed part of the Christmas special at Buckingham Palace.
After taking the royal hand and dancing the cha cha cha, he said: “She knows her way around a dance floor – don’t you worry about that.”
Cole added: “She was absolutely delightful, I didn’t know if I was breaking protocol or not but I did ask her if it was OK to ask her to dance, and she said ‘I’d love to’.
“I thought somebody was about to grab me by the scruff of the neck and kick me out.”
The duchess was hosting a tea dance, in her role as president of the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS), to highlight the benefits of older people staying active.
Former Strictly contestants Judy Murray, Robbie Savage and Colin Jackson, among others, are competing in the Christmas Day show and were filmed at the Queen’s official London home in November.
Earlier this month fans of the show saw their favourite Joe McFadden crowned the 2017 winner during the final.
Tennis coach Murray, who has been reunited with her 2014 dance partner Anton du Beke for the festive show, said: “I think the fact I said I’d do the Christmas special probably tells you how much I enjoyed it first time, it’s such a great show to be part of.
“I think the Christmas one doesn’t’ have the pressure of somebody really trying to win something or get everything right – it’s all for great family entertainment on Christmas Day.”
Four couples, who are affected by osteoporosis and are involved in dancing, were also invited to the Strictly event staged in the supper room of the palace’s ballroom.
Osteoporosis is a fragile bone condition which leads to painful and often debilitating broken bones and is estimated to affect three million people in the UK, and causes 500,000 fragility fractures every year – one every minute.
The mother of tennis stars Andy and Jamie Murray said about the benefits of dancing: “This is really important because what I realised during Strictly was how much fun it was to exercise to music.
“You can see there are many elderly people on the dance floor and they’re not only exercising, they’re having fun, it’s a huge social thing as well.”
Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood introduced a performance by the show’s professional dancers and spent time with Camilla, a huge fan of the dance series.
The judge, who is a patron of the NOS, said: “A lot of people don’t like running machines or football, they like dancing, so it’s a great way to keep fit. It’s also about endorphins and having that happy feeling at the end of it and not considering you’re doing exercise for exercise sake.”
Looking back at the season Revel Horwood said he was surprised good dancers had ended up at the bottom of the leader board due to the public vote, and then the judges were unable to save them because they had performed a dance which did not suit them.
He added: “It’s just one of those terrible juxtapositions and a development beyond our control – I couldn’t believe I was getting rid of Aston, in that respect, because he was one of the favourites to win.
“But it depends what dance you get, on what day, who you’re up against and what dance they get.”
He added laughing: “You’ve got to be like Alexandra Burke – good at all of it.”