Duchess of Cornwall dances with pensioners on visit to Stepney centre
PUBLISHED: 15:04 23 January 2019
The Duchess of Cornwall was left in a spin when she stepped on to the dance floor during a visit to a Stepney centre for the elderly.
Camilla, 71, was twirled around by a sprightly 86-year-old who could not believe his luck that one of the youngest women in the room wanted to dance.
The duchess was visiting Jewish Care’s Brenner Centre to celebrate its 80th anniversary.
When a singer began performing the traditional Jewish song Hava Nagila, Camilla joined a ring of dancing guests who all held hands before she linked arms with Abraham David and they spun around.
Mr David, from Shadwell, said: “It was a lovely, wonderful experience, I think I’m dreaming.
“She put her hand out to mine and wanted to dance - I couldn’t believe it. I won’t sleep tonight I’m so excited.”
Camilla was following in the footsteps of other royals who have visited the Brenner Centre, located at the Stepney Jewish Community Centre at Raine House, including the Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary who opened the service in 1938.
The duchess chatted to 92-year-old Lillian Lebby who came to the centre the year it opened as a young girl, and when describing how it has supported her over the decades said to the royal “This place saved my life”.
An afternoon tea was served for the visit and Camilla spent her time touring the tables and chatting to members of the Jewish community telling one group “we all feel young inside”.
She also met the centre’s oldest member Beattie Orwell, a former mayoress of Tower Hamlets who is aged 101.
The pensioner took part in the famous Battle of Cable Street in 1936, joining the East End community’s stand against a march by Oswald Mosley’s fascists.
Before leaving the duchess unveiled a plague to mark her visit and told the guests who included Lord Levy, Jewish Care’s president: “I sometimes go to places which are a bit sad, but this place is one of the most uplifting centres I’ve ever been to, meeting all you wonderful, inspirational people has been a real treat.”
She continued joking: “How most of you look so young - I don’t know.”
When she later travelled to a nearby community centre to join members of Malmesbury Residents’ Association, who are cleaning up their neighbourhood, she was presented with the litter picking sticks litter sticks for the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex, who have spoken about how their father encouraged them to clear up rubbish.
The duchess, who is president of the charity Cleanup UK which organised the litter pick, said: “I will deliver these personally, they are rather pros at the job, they were taught well by their father, who as you know is a passionate litter picker.
“We aren’t allowed to go past anything without stopping and picking it up so I’m quite well versed in it too.”
In a documentary screened last year to mark the Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday, William said his father would give him and brother Harry spikes and black plastic bags, when they were schoolboys, and encourage them to clear up other people’s rubbish.
He said: “We were in Norfolk on school holidays, and went out litter picking with him, again both of us thought ‘this is perfectly normal, everyone must do it’.”