Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is probably the most recognized woman in the world — a lot of the time at least. A playfully charming story of how the Queen went incognito has just been revealed, and it’s delightful.
The story was brought to light by Richard Griffin, “former protection officer” to the Queen, reports the Daily Mail. According to Griffin, the Queen was walking near her Scottish estate of Balmoral, which covers about 50,000 acres of woodland, moor, and farmland. The estate, which is owned privately by the Queen, is home to hundreds of deer, cattle and ponies — and a lady who is about to turn 90 and loves long walks.
When Queen Elizabeth is “off duty” and in the country she likes to dress down, typically wearing tweeds and a headscarf. On this particular day, Griffin recalls, “the Queen was keen not to blow her cover,” as she was approached by a group of American tourists.
When one of the tourists asked the Queen, “Do you live round here?”, she quickly replied that “she had a house nearby.” Seizing the opportunity, the poor tourist asked if she had met the Queen, to which Her Majesty “gestured” to Griffin and said “‘No, but he has…'”
To be fair to the Americans, they had probably expected the Queen of England to be wearing something suitably royal.
“The Queen was completely unrecognisable to the tourists, who would have been more used to seeing the monarch in a bright array of colourful suits and hats.”
Those tourists are surely kicking themselves now that the anecdote has become public, but boy do they have a great story of how they really, actually, met the Queen!
The Queen’s daughter-in-law, the Countess of Wessex, offered some explanation on how the tourists — who were undoubtedly in the area simply to try and see the Queen — let her walk right by them, notes the Daily Mail.
“‘Don’t forget that when she [the Queen] turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, ten, 15 deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the Queen’s hat as she went past. She needs to stand out for people to be able to say ‘I saw the Queen.'”
When we think of Queen Elizabeth we usually imagine her in a colorful dress and coat, with matching hat. Although it is a stretch to think that she dresses like this all the time, the “low-key way of life” she lives in Scotland and its accompanying attire come as a surprise to a lot of people.
Another sweet story about Queen Elizabeth surprising people in Balmoral came out recently. In his memoir, “Saudi ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles recalled that the Queen had asked her guest if he would like to go on a tour of the estate”. The Queen’s guest was “Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.”
According to Cowper-Coles, Her Majesty scared the bejesus out of the Prince.
“The royal Land Rovers were drawn up in front of the castle. As instructed, the Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the front Land Rover, with his interpreter in the seat behind. To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. His nervousness only increased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime, accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.”
We have to feel sorry for those unfortunate tourists, but isn’t her sharp attitude the best thing about the Queen? How easily she transforms from the majestic head of state to a relatively casual, down-to-earth lady? That’s what we love the most about Queen Elizabeth.
[Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images]