Monday 19 August 2019

Alexandra Burke: I wanted to give the Queen a big hug when we met

She scored 39 out of 40 on Saturday night.

Olivier Awards 2014 – London
Olivier Awards 2014 – London

By Catherine Wyatt, Press Association

Alexandra Burke has told of her frustration at not being allowed to give the Queen a “big hug” when she met her in Blackpool several years ago.

The Strictly Come Dancing star, who topped the leaderboard on the BBC One dancing show during Saturday night’s Blackpool special, spoke about meeting the monarch in the northern seaside resort town eight years ago.

Burke wrote in Radio Times magazine: “I’m no stranger to Blackpool. Back in 2009 I performed for the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance in the Winter Gardens, which was an absolutely incredible experience.

Alexandra Burke

“I met her beforehand and she was lovely.

“There are lots of protocols to follow, so you can’t put out your hand to shake hers unless she reaches out first, or speak to her before she talks to you – which was frustrating because I just wanted to give her a big hug!”

The former X Factor champion scored 39 out of a possible 40 points for her quickstep with professional partner Gorka Marquez at the weekend.

She told of how she was glad to be taking part in the Blackpool special along with Marquez, who did not make it to the milestone moment last year during his first series as a Strictly professional.

She wrote: “I love it that we’re on this journey together and both experiencing a lot of it for the first time.”

Burke, 29, also wrote of how she had never visited Blackpool in her younger days for a holiday because she lived in London and that she thinks her mother “thought it was too far” and so took her to Margate or Southend instead.

“As a single parent with four kids, she found it quite difficult to take us abroad, so although I do remember holidays to Malta and Lanzarote, the British seaside was where we spent most of our summers.”

Her mother Melissa Bell died in August, as Burke began her journey on the dancing programme.

Radio Times

Paralympian Jonnie Peacock became the eighth celebrity to be booted off the show in Sunday’s results show, after competing against Debbie McGee in the dance-off.

He was the first disabled contestant to appear on the show in its history.

:: Radio Times is out now

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