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The Extraordinary Tale of...

Ballet icon Margot Fonteyn, the would-be revolutionary

1959 PRIMA BALLERINA JOINS COUP TO TOPPLE PANAMA GOVERNMENT

For nearly 40 years, she was queen of the ballet stage, but Margot Fonteyn once set her sights on becoming Queen of Panama…

With unmatched musicality and grace, technical skill bordering on perfection, and passion stamped on every performance, there was no one like Margot Fonteyn. From her debut as a teenager in 1934 to her famous partnership with Rudolf Nureyev, the British ballet dancer was hailed as the greatest of her – perhaps any – generation. Fonteyn was, quite simply, born to dance.

What came less naturally, however, was her one-time performance as a political revolutionary. In April 1955, it was revealed she had become embroiled in a somewhat farcical coup to place her Panamanian husband in power – which was crushed in a matter of hours and left the world’s press asking rather strange questions, such as whether the prima ballerina of the Royal Ballet carried a gun.

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The April 2016 issue of History Revealed.