Being on Strictly is nowhere near as nerve-wracking as addressing the Queen, says BBC’s Bill Turnbull after he attends a meeting of the Sandringham WI in Norfolk

The Queen arrives at the WI meeting. Picture: Matthew Usher. The Queen arrives at the WI meeting. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Thursday, January 23, 2014
6:24 PM

BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull thought appearing on Strictly Come Dancing was the most nerve-wracking experience of his life - until he came to Norfolk to give a talk on bee-keeping to the ladies of the Sandringham Women’s Institute.

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The Queen at meeting at West Newton - BBC Breakfast's Bill Turnbull. Picture: Matthew Usher.The Queen at meeting at West Newton - BBC Breakfast's Bill Turnbull. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The Queen, who is the branch’s honorary president, was among the audience in West Newton Village Hall, as Mr Turnbull took to the stage as guest speaker.

“It was lovely, very nice,” he said afterwards. “I used to think taking part in Strictly was the most nerve-wracking experience of my life, but it’s number two now.

“When the Queen’s sitting in the front row, a mattrer of feet away, it’s quite nerve-wracking.”

Mr Turnbull, who brought along a jar of honey from his Buckinghamshire apiary to give to the Queen, told the meeting how the hobby helps him unwind from the stress of his job.

The Queen arrived just before 3pm, dressed in a light mauve coat, and was welcomed at the steps of the hall by WI chair Yvonne Browne.

Shortly after she entered the building, close to Sandringham House, members sang the National Anthem and Jerusalem as the meeting got under way.

The Queen, who is a keen supporter of the WI’s values and traditions, attends a meeting each January, while she is staying at Sandringham.

A small crowd of well-wishers gathered to greet the Queen, at what is normally a low-key, private engagement. The 87-year-old monarch waved as she was driven away afterwards.

There have been links between female Royals and the institute for almost a century. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was also an honorary president of the Sandringham branch.

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