The late Queen was on the throne for a monumental 70 years and in that time she gained a reputation not only for her dedication to duty, but for her wicked sense of humour.
Whether it is choosing to cut a cake with a sword instead of a knife or her witty remark to a couple of American tourists who did not recognise her, the late monarch was renowned for her love of a joke. And while Her Majesty was well-known for pulling her own fair share of pranks, she thoroughly enjoyed being told a good joke – especially when they had a naughty punchline.
One such occasion saw the monarch laughing away at a crude joke that her aides stepped in and tried to stop her from listening to it.
A royal insider reported how Sir Donald Gosling told an incredibly crude joke to The Queen about horses – and one Labour ministers panic.
They recalled: “HM would relish seeing Don because she would know he always had a fresh supply of jokes, but his sense of humour was pretty salty.”
The insider said Mr Gosling was sat one place away from The Queen, with Labour Defence Secretary Fred Mulley in between them.
The source said: “Don was in full flow telling her his latest joke – involving a horse trainer giving Viagra to a runner in the 2.30 at Newton Abbott.
“The Minister put up his hand and stopped Don, obviously thinking the Queen shouldn’t be exposed to such ribaldry.
“HM was furious – and berated poor Mulley for ruining the joke. She made Don tell the whole joke all over again, and shrieked with laughter at the punchline, which was about the horse winning against stiff competition, or something like that.”
Despite her high-ranking position, The Queen was also the subject of many pranks in her time. One of the best was revealed by the monarch’s trusted dresser, Angela Kelly in her book ‘The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe’.
Ms Kelly detailed how during a 2006 tour of Australia she wanted to trick The Queen. On April Fools’ Day, she bought a stuffed toy version of a kookaburra and convinced a “horrified” Queen that it was a dead one.
Having purchased the toy at a nearby market, Kelly then placed it in a birdcage on the balcony outside the royal suite in Governor’s House.
She recalled: ” The Queen looked outside and shouted ‘It’s a kookaburra!’ I went to open the cage and she said loudly, ‘No! Don’t do that! It will fly away!’ Turning to her Majesty while trying to keep a straight face, I solemnly told her it was dead. She looked horrified as I walked towards her with outstretched arms and as she took the bird from my hands, she realised I had been winding her up.”
Kelly continued: “‘April Fool!’ I said with a mischievous grin, and she only had two words for me, ‘You’re sacked!’
There are several other examples of the late Queen’s sense of humour but one of the best stories was told by the monarch’s former protection officer about the time she encountered some American tourists while out walking in Scotland.
Richard Griffin, a former royal protection officer, recalled that the Queen had been walking around the grounds while was wearing a simple headscarf and tweed coat.
When a group of tourists approached the Queen and asked her whether she lived locally, she jokly responded that she had a house nearby.
The group are then said to have asked whether she had actually met the Queen herself, to which the Queen’s well-renowned sense of humour came to the fore. “No, but he has,” she reportedly answered, gesturing to her protection officer.
The group then went on about their business, entirely unaware that they themselves had now met, and spoken to the Queen.