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A royal joke: 7 of the Queen’s best quips

In the year of the Diamond Jubilee, Do Not Disturb has a royal revelation: the Queen has a great sense of humour. Here are some of her best one-liners.

1 At a garden party a guest was mid-curtsey when her mobile phone trilled. She froze in horror, but the Queen remained serene. ‘You should answer it,’ Her Majesty suggested. ‘It might be someone important.’

2 When a visitor once suggested the Queen must be missing Prince Andrew, who was away in the Navy, she replied: ‘Indeed I do – especially because he is the only one who knows how to work the video.’

3 While the Queen still prides herself on standing throughout a garden party, she delighted in observing to the Archbishop of Canterbury that the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had taken a chair for the second year running: ‘She’s keeled over again!’ she said.

4 Once, at a St James’s Palace line-up, Andrew Pierce, a newspaper hack aware of the convention that journalists shouldn’t interview the monarch, stammered: ‘You can’t talk to me.’ This moved the Queen to give her best Blackadder performance. ‘But I’m the Queen. Who are you?’

5 At a leaving party for Sir Robert (now Lord) Fellowes, she declared: ‘Robert is the only one of my private secretaries I have held in my arms.’ Staff gasped – before remembering that Fellowes is her godson.

6 Her humour was evident at an early age. On the birth of her sister, Margaret Rose in 1931, Elizabeth decided: ‘I shall call her Bud. She’s not a real Rose yet.’ And she continued to cast this quizzical eye over her family. When Princess Anne married the equally horsey Capt Mark Phillips, she remarked: ‘I expect their children will be four-legged.’

7 On a visit to Trinity College, Oxford, early in the Queen’s reign, her Lord-Lieutenant, the Earl of Macclesfield, fainted during lunch, followed swiftly by his wife, who thought he had died. As Miles Jebb recounts in his history of the Lord-Lieutenants, a college servant then tripped over, dropping a tray of drinks. The Queen wryly summed up: ‘We’ve had such a wonderful lunch. Bodies all over the place.’

By Jasper Gerard


  1. It’s great to read about the Queen’s funny side. We had a great Jubilee weekend and as far as I know everyone had a smashing time. The celebration was a blinding success. Long live the Queen!

  2. I’m just go right ahead and say it, do you have any sources for these quotes? I mean. yes their quite funny, but your lack of any references or sources kind of points towards you making up the entire article.

  3. Thanks for your comment. The article was written by Jasper Gerard, an experienced writer who has worked at The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer, among others. Much of the material he cites is from Robert Hardman’s biography and was all properly sourced and checked. Hope that helps.

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