We are amused: how the Queen saw the funny side

The tourists inquired if she resided nearby, oblivious to the modest woman wearing a headscarf. She responded evasively, acknowledging that indeed, she possessed a residence in close proximity. They questioned if she had ever encountered the Queen, to which she swiftly denied but gestured towards Richard Griffin, stating, “but he has.” Subsequently, they continued their stroll, completely unaware. According to writer Karen Dolby, who recounted a presentation delivered by Richard Griffin, the Queen’s former security officer, it is evident that the woman’s ironic and lighthearted nature showcased her sense of humor. On one occasion, a cluster of American tourists approached the Queen while she was taking a walk near her Balmoral estate.

It is quite astonishing how someone who can be so funny and teasing in private can be so serious and formal in public. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, said this in 2012 while speaking about the Queen. Those who had the opportunity to meet or know her often remarked on her sense of humor, but the Queen’s humorous side was not always obvious to the general public.

She walked away and gave me a wink, and as she saw me staring at her, he left, slapping me with the words “I am the QUEEN” – slapping me with an argument of “Don’t” – slapping me with the words “saying,” – slapping me with the face of him – slapping me lightly as the Queen, the musician wrote. Linley, the Viscount, checked off and went to go check on his nephew Margaret, the Princess, his sister – repeatedly trying to go and check on his mother, and he could be hilarious “When” he wrote about the Queen in his memoir, Sir John Elton.

She appears extremely bad-tempered and is often deeply touched by the applause of the crowd. When she tries to control it, she looks like an angry thundercloud and finds it difficult to suppress her emotions. She cannot simply assume a smile and laugh with her whole face because she is a very spontaneous person, as Godfrey Agnew rightly said to me. After meeting the Queen in the 1960s, she noted that Richard Crossman, the left-wing politician and intellectual, was a very genuine person. This could have an unintended effect. She not only shied away from showing emotions in public because she was influenced by her generation, but also because her position demanded seriousness and a sense of duty.

In private, her demeanor seemed to be humorous, whereas she was more open with Philip Prince’s family members, unlike other royal family members. She was very aware of the need to be dignified, especially in the earlier part of her reign. However, a key part of her character was a “fun sense and humorous remarks” collection, as stated by Dolby, who compiled “The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II – A Collection of Some Humorous Monarch’s Remarks.”

I would say that her religious faith and her sense of humor were two of the personal aspects that kept her on track. Her sense of humor was wonderfully dry and wry, and it was a very important ingredient of her identity. According to Lacey Robert, a royal biographer and historian, her sense of humor was a crucial element and it was wonderfully dry and wry.

She has moved on, but she has acknowledged the problem. Suddenly, everyone’s attention is on her as she opens the proceedings with a joke. This joke was her way of referring to the expression ‘mirabilis annus’ as a joke among Classical scholars. However, it is not correct Latin. Lacey points out that it was a wry joke, but it has been seriously taken as an expression of the Queen’s anguish. That phrase ‘horribilis annus’ refers to the famous speech in 1992, which was the year when her children’s marriages publicly broke down and part of Castle Windsor was wrecked by fire.

The Queen driving her Range Rover as she attends the Royal Windsor horse show in July 2021. Photograph: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

According to Lacey, there is something fundamentally absurd about the monarchy. The reason for this is that she was not born into the line of succession. She was essentially the equivalent of Princess Beatrice in her time: the older daughter of the Duke of York, she was not meant for this role. However, due to her uncle’s abdication, she found herself in line for the throne. This unexpected turn of events can be seen as a completely random occurrence, which she finds amusing.

Humor has been important to the whole family, from picnics and informal barbecues to exchanging presents and joking at Sandringham at Christmas, says Dolby.

Lacey states that when discussing Prince Philip, his blunders and his offensive sense of humor, the main individual they referred to was the Queen. Dolby argues, “I believe that only someone with a sense of humor would have been as content or formed such a prosperous alliance with a man like Prince Philip.” The Queen’s connection with her spouse was also characterized by humor.

I was wondering whether I should start my toast by saying “…” When the Queen helped celebrate the US bicentennial in 1976, she began her speech with a smile and said, “I wondered what George W. Bush, the President after me in 2007, meant when he said the US had “breakfast” in 1776.” She also mentioned that she prefers eggs from New Zealand myself, after being confronted by anti-monarchist protesters who threw eggs at her during a visit to New Zealand in 1986. She could use humor to defuse tricky situations and also make witty remarks that could turn the situation into a joke. The Queen was prepared to have fun and poke fun at herself, particularly in later years when she starred in a video with Prince Harry before his Invictus Games or played a role in the James Bond sketch for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

During a visit to the Chelsea flower show in 2016, Jekka McVicar informed the Queen that lily of the valley had previously been employed as a toxic substance, to which the Queen humorously remarked, “I’ve received two bouquets this week. Maybe they desire my demise,” as stated by McVicar.

Crew members were allegedly selected for their comedic talents, and they were said to be working in a relaxed environment on the royal yacht, Britannia, which was one of the locations where they could relax while off-duty. In this environment, where humor played a crucial role, employees have described having a friendly relationship with their supervisor behind closed doors.

Ronald Reagan laughs as the Queen makes a speech in San Francisco in 1983. Photograph: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

In her book, The Other Side of the Coin, Angela Kelly, the dresser of the Queen, stated that while assisting the Queen in donning her robe and crown for state occasions, the Queen would often roll her eyes and playfully express disapproval towards her. According to Kelly, the Queen was overwhelmed with emotion during these moments. Kelly recounts that once she realized it was a joke, the Queen was extremely thrilled, believing it to be genuine. On a royal tour of Australia in 2006, Kelly purchased a toy kookaburra and placed it on the Queen’s balcony. Kelly mentions that the Queen had only two words for her: ‘You’re sacked!’ Kelly had previously mentioned that the Queen possessed a skill for mimicry and enjoyed imitating her Liverpudlian accent. As Dolby points out, her repertoire includes politicians such as Tony Benn and Tony Blair, well-known TV characters, and a remarkably convincing portrayal of Russian president Boris Yeltsin, as well as several US presidents.

The Queen, who could see the funny side, was a woman with a heavy sense of duty. Underneath that reminder, there was a broad smile and a ready laugh, which meant a lot. They realized that the royal family needed to be more human when I think about Princess Diana’s death, but there was a change after that. Dolby says, “Partly, it was her confidence in her own position, but she seemed more willing to show a lighthearted public face later in her reign, decades later.”