Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall has been secretly taking ballet classes with a group of her "ancient" friends.

Duchess of Cornwall

Duchess of Cornwall

The 72-year-old royal - who is married to Prince Charles - had never tried the dance discipline until 18 months ago but she and her pals love their classes and are too busy concentrating on their own moves to worry about anyone "toppling over".

She said: "I got together a group of of ancient friends together. The four of us sort of clatter around. When we are in London we do it once a week and it makes all the difference.

"I've always loved dancing but I'd never, never done ballet. [I enjoy] the feeling that we are all in it together.

"We thought at first it was going to be very funny and I was going to laugh at everybody toppling over to me next door, but we concentrate so hard that we don't even know what our friend next door is doing.

"When I stand there I think to myself 'drop your shoulders, breathe deeply, don't hunch'. It's those sorts of things you have ingrained in your memory.

"You don't have to have any experience with ballet before. It's just something that makes you feel better. Which I think we all need in our lives."

While Camilla loves the lessons, she's got no intention of taking to the stage for a public performance.

She said: "You might groan a bit afterwards and cough and grunt and everything else, but you do feel better. It's fun, it's really good fun.

"I am very much a beginner and will always stay a beginner but after 18 months of doing it I do feel I've improved a tiny bit.

"But I'm certainly not taking it to the stage, shall we say. I'm keeping it in my own home, privately."

Camilla was introduced to the Silver Swans classes - which encourage older people to stay fit and healthy through ballet - when she visited the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) headquarters in London in 2018 and admitted she wasn't expecting the dancers to be as good as they were.

Speaking in a video call to mark International Dance Day with Darcey Bussell, president of RAD and former newsreader and Silver Swans ambassador Angela Rippon, she recalled thinking: 'Oh dear! What on earth is this going be?'

She added: "I thought it was going to be a lot of very ancient people like me wobbling about on one leg! [But] I couldn't believe how good everyone was.

"I mean they were so impressive."

Camilla - who has been named vice patron of RAD - has continued her Silver Swans workouts while isolating in Scotland with her husband.

She said: "[I start] with a bit of Silver Swans and a bit of Pilates. And a lot of walking, which I love."

The duchess admitted she's finding life during the coronavirus pandemic "very peculiar", but it hasn't stopped her and her spouse - who contracted the virus last month - from working.

She said: "Well it's very peculiar.

"My husband is a workaholic so it's work wherever he is. We try to do something for our charities most days."