Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visited the Game of Thrones set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Tuesday morning. But the 88-year-old monarch bummed out the entire world — or at least the part of of it obsessed with the machinations in the fractious, fictional kingdom of Westeros — when she declined a golden opportunity to take her seat on The Iron Throne.
As the above official video issued by the British Monarchy today reveals, Queen Elizabeth II got close enough to the Iron Throne to get a good look, but given the chance to take a seat, is reported to have "politely declined."
Maybe the Iron Throne simply looked to uncomfortable for her royal behind. The Iron Throne on the Games of Thrones set is covered with interlocking swords. The real throne, which Queen Elizabeth II occupies on ceremonial occasions such as the opening of the British Parliamentary session, looks like it's a lot more comfortable.
The monarch and her 93-year-old husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were guided on their tour of the Game of Thrones set at Belfast's Titanic Studios — so named because the massive model of the legendary, doomed passenger ship was constructed there for the 1997 film of the same name — by the creators of the hit HBO fantasy drama, David Benioff and Dan Weiss.
A few of the show's actors were also on hand to greet Queen Elizabeth II, including Lena Headey, who portrays the scheming, sadistic queen of Westeros Cersei Lannister. Northern Ireland-born Conleth Hill, who plays the Machiavellian eunuch Lord Varys on the show, which also airs in the U.K., looked on as well. Also in attendance were Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), who all had the opportunity to chat briefly with the real-life queen.
Queen Elizabeth II assumed her seat on the real throne of Great Britain in 1952 when she was 25 years old following the death of her father King George VI. Her 62-year, and counting, reign would appear unthinkable to the numerous monarchs and would-be monarchs of Westeros who all have alarmingly short life-expectancies.
Even though she turned up her royal nose at the chance to sit on the Iron Throne, the show's producers presented the queen with a miniature replica of the coveted throne to commemorate her visit.
While her half-hour tour of the Game of Thrones set may have captured the imagination of the show's fans, of greater political significance was the visit by the royal couple to the Crumlin Road Jail, where numerous Irish Republican Army leaders were imprisoned — and in many cases, executed — during the violent period between 1969 and 2001 referred to in Northern Ireland as "the Troubles."
One of those former IRA leaders, Martin McGuinness, who is now Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, met one-on-one with the British monarch for the first time Monday night.
McGuinness praised the visit by Queen Elizabeth II to Northern Ireland as an important step in the ongoing peace process there, and he singled out her visit to the jail as an especially "bold step."
"The vast bulk of our people appreciate the effort Queen Elizabeth is making to peace and the reconciliation process and I think many people will look at the visit to the Crumlin Road prison, for example, with a degree of astonishment," McGuinness said.
The Game of Thrones production has been a major economic force in Northern Ireland, bringing an estimated $140 million to the area, an achievement which merited the visit by Queen Elizabeth II.