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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
In pictures: Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell has retired from ballet after more than 15 years at the top.

Sir Kenneth MacMillan directs Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope in rehearsals for The Prince of the Pagodas.

She was plucked from the corps de ballet by the late choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan when she was just 18 to dance the lead in The Prince of the Pagodas.

Darcey Bussell and Princess Diana

Bussell met Princess Diana in 1991 after performing in Dance for Life, a celebration of dance in aid of Crusaid, one the UK's leading Aids charities.

Darcey Bussell at a fitting for the Royal Opera House production of Don Quixote.

Bussell has performed the lead roles in most classical ballets, including the Royal Ballet's production of Don Quixote in 1993.

Ballerina Darcey Bussell and Marks and Spencer Chief Executive Roger Holmes

Away from the stage, Bussell has turned her hand to modelling, including being the face of a performance-led sportswear line at Marks and Spencer in 2002.

Darcy Bussell and Dawn French

She even appeared in the BBC's Vicar of Dibley in 1997, alongside comedian Dawn French.

Darcey Bussell

Bussell's high profile landed her a seat on Concorde's last passenger flight from New York to London in 2003. She was photographed putting her make-up on at the airport.

Darcey Bussell

Bussell took a curtain call after The Royal Ballet Gala for the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations a year ago.

Darcey Bussell at Buckingham Palace

Bussell took her two daughters - Phoebe and Zoe - to Buckingham Palace when she received her CBE from the Queen in 2007.

Darcey Bussell in Song of the Earth - Credit: Dee Conway

Critics have raved about Bussell's performance in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Song of the Earth. She gave her final performance on 8 June at the Royal Opera House in London.

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