The ‘daft’ royal tradition ended by the Queen after Prince Philip’s complaints revealed

The Queen abolished the longstanding royal tradition at Buckingham Palace just four years after her 1953 coronation

The ‘daft’ royal tradition ended by the Queen after Prince Philip’s complaints
(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen abolished an 18th-century royal practice shortly after she was coronated, following Prince Philip's rumored condemnation of it as 'bloody daft'. 

The Queen ended a longstanding royal tradition in the five years of her reign, after Prince Philip reportedly slammed the event as 'bloody daft.' 

Debutante balls had been a staple in the Royal Family's busy social calendar since 1780, when George III created the Queen Charlotte Ball in honor of his wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The extravagant dances continued into the 20th century, annually taking place at Buckingham Palace until they were finally abolished by Queen Elizabeth II in 1957. 

Now considered by most to be outdated, the balls invited Britain's upper-class teenage girls to 'present themselves' to the monarch and establish their 'coming out' as single women in society. After curtseying to the King or Queen upon arrival, they would mingle with other affluent men, in the hope of finding themselves a suitable husband. The pressure was intense for the bachelorette to secure an engagement, with failure to meet a suitor in the first two social seasons often associated with long-term singledom. 


(Image credit: Getty)

Girls would be chaperoned at the ball by their 'sponsor', who was usually their mother or a close, older female relative. The sponsors were also required to have been presented, which meant that only an exclusive group of young women were eligible to partake in the rite of passage. 

The tradition came to an end, however, in 1957, when the Queen announced that the 1958 debutante ball would be the last. 

It's been said that Prince Philip was strongly opposed to the dances, having reportedly even called them 'bloody daft' on one occasion. 

Her Majesty's reasoning for scrapping the ball was never revealed, but it's unlikely due to dying demand. The farewell event saw huge interest, with Buckingham Palace receiving record-breaking requests from Britain's aristocratic families for a final chance to present their daughters. The Queen had made her mind up, however, and on 17 July 1958, the last ever debutante was presented to Queen Mother and Prince Philip. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.