The Polzeath beach ranger who missed his chance to dance with the Queen

  • Charlie explains how he almost danced with the Queen

A Polzeath beach ranger, who spent three decades in the police force, says one of his biggest fears nearly came true - he nearly danced with the Queen at her annual Autumn Ball.

Charlie Morrow was a specialist police inspector who spent his final six years of service guarding the royal family at Windsor and Balmoral.

Charlie says his job was to make sure he and his team were a "discreet part of the furniture" to help the royal family live a happy private life.

Andrew 'Charlie' Morrow's invitation to attend the dance at Balmoral with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh Credit: ITV News

However just before retiring the duty inspector was invited to the Ghillies Ball - something that gave him "anxiety attacks at 2am" about the risk of "stumbling and knocking somebody over".

He said: "I spent six years trying to avoid getting into very close contact of members of the royal family because it was my job to do so.

"And I was terrified, to be honest. First of all, I have two left feet!"

The Ghillies Ball is an intimate private party where royals and household staff would all dance together in traditional Scottish dancing style.

But Charlie's fear of dancing with the most important member of the royal family was almost realised when he looked down the dancing line and saw Her Majesty was getting ever closer.

He said: "The nature of the Scottish dancing is that things get quick and with each little hop, skip, some jumps between the pair of us, we ended up in quite close proximity."

"My heart was pumping. My head was thinking of the 'what ifs'. And what made matters even worse was I could see one of her close protection officers looking at me winking!

"It got closer and closer, and eventually, whenever I was probably the next person in line to end up dancing with Her Majesty the music stopped, and it was a pleasant relief."

Charlie needed to look the part before attending the Ghilles Ball so was fitted for his first Scottish kilt Credit: Charlie Morrow

After breathing a massive sigh of relief Charlie says when he retells this story people often ask does he regret not getting that moment with the monarch.

He said: "I think it was probably the best for me, but is a memory I'll never forget. I can see the glint in her eye and I could see her smile. And that was enough. It was lovely."

Charlie grew up in Northern Ireland with a family who was "infatuated" about the royal family so it was extra special to have these unique memories with the royals.

"As a boy growing up during The Troubles I'd always sing the national anthem in the school assemblies and then all of a sudden working for Her Majesty it actually became a bit of a happy anti-climax because in the sense that they're just a normal family," he added.

Charlie's job was to be in the background of royal life at Windsor and Balmoral Credit: Charlie Morrow