Inside the Highgrove tea dance which had a surprise appearance from Prince Charles

  • Watch the moment Prince Charles takes to the dance floor at Highgrove

The Prince of Wales swung into the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at a tea dance held at his private residence in Gloucestershire.

Charles, along with TV star Jools Holland and soul singer Ruby Turner, surprised more than 250 older guests on Tuesday (May 31) at a party thrown by the Prince’s Foundation in the Orchard Room of Highgrove House.

The event - held as a way combat loneliness and isolation within the community - saw men and women from the local area enjoy an afternoon tea while socialising and enjoying live music.

Guests were unaware the prince would be joining them, and his entrance was met with delighted gasps.

The Prince of Wales meets invited guests during a Jubilee tea dance at Highgrove near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Credit: PA images

Immediately after arriving, Charles sat down with special guest Elizabeth Powell, from Highnam, who celebrated her 100th birthday on May 6.

He presented her with a bouquet of flowers from his gardens and a handwritten birthday card, the front of which was decorated with a print of one of his own paintings. Holland and Turner got the room to sing Happy Birthday to the centenarian.

Mrs Powell said afterwards: “I’m so surprised by everything, it's so beautiful here and Prince Charles was so very nice, bless him.

“He wished me a happy birthday and asked if I was keeping well and if I live on my own, which I do in a bungalow not far from my son, his wife and my grandchildren.”

She said she was “all geared up” to watch the jubilee and was looking forward to attending a street party and village fete with her family.

Asked for her secret to a long life, she replied: “I like to have a glass of red wine in the evening. And sometimes I have a sherry at lunchtime as well."

Prince Charles was joined by Jools Holland, Ruby Turner and Patrick Grant at the celebratory tea dance, one of many held across the UK Credit: PA Images

A local Lindy Hop group, Cheltenham Swing Dance, were on hand to get the dancing under way.

After greeting most of the guests, Charles joined dancer Bridget Tibbs for a tango to a rendition of Just Softly As A Morning Sunrise, performed by The Honeymoon Swing, with his entrance to the dancefloor greeted by applause.

Ms Tibbs said: “It was wonderful. He was very lovely to dance with, a lovely sense of rhythm, a nice hold. It was a pleasure. He was delightful to talk to and we had a good chat. I was actually talking to him about environmental issues and saying the work that he does is amazing.”

Audrey Webber, 61, who began Highnam’s Goodneighbour Cafe, which started during Covid-19 lockdowns as a support group for those feeling isolated, said: “It is so important, what they’re doing here, especially after the lockdown, which has exacerbated people’s feelings of loneliness. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces today is just so lovely.”

Anna Gibbins, 64, from South Cerney, an Age UK volunteer whose husband recently died with dementia, said: “Older people tend to feel invisible but they have a part to play in society, and many have hidden talents that we should all want to capitalise on.

"Events like this help people feel special, loved and connected.”