Understated yet undeniably funny: Stories of the Queen’s great sense of humour

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip laugh after bidding farewell to the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southern England April 11, 2014.  The Irish President and his wife Sabina left Windsor at the end of a four day State Visit to Britain, during which they stayed at Windsor Castle as guests of Queen Elizabeth.  REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool     (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS) - LM1EA4B125J01
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip laugh after bidding farewell to the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southern England April 11, 2014. The Irish President and his wife Sabina left Windsor at the end of a four day State Visit to Britain, during which they stayed at Windsor Castle as guests of Queen Elizabeth. REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS) - LM1EA4B125J01
Understated yet undeniably funny, the Queen was known for approaching her duties with equal parts dedication and wit.

She had US president Ronald Reagan in stitches. While addressing attendees during a state dinner in San Francisco in 1983, Her Majesty commented on the lousy California weather she had encountered since her arrival to America.

As part of her 10-day tour of the West Coast, the Queen had planned on sailing into Santa Barbara on Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia to meet with the president and First Lady Nancy Reagan before heading to their ranch, Rancho Del Cielo, for lunch and a horseback ride.

A severe storm, which brought more than three times the normal amount of rain to the area, caused several last-minute changes to be made to the meeting. “I knew before we came that we had exported many of our traditions to the United States,” remarked the Queen, “but I had not realised before that weather was one of them.”

Members of Britain’s royal family (front L-R) Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth cheer as competitors participate in a sack race at the Braemar Gathering in Braemar, Scotland September 1, 2012. REUTERS

“Have you met the Queen?”

Former royal protection officer Richard ‘Dick’ Griffin was out walking with Her Majesty near to her Balmoral home when they passed two American tourists who struck up a conversation with her. The hiker asked the Queen where she lived, to which she replied: London. Elizabeth said she had a holiday home nearby and that she’d been visiting the area since she was a child. The tourists asked whether she’d “met the Queen”. To which she replied ‘I haven’t, but Dick here meets her regularly’”.

The hiker asked Dick what Her Majesty was like in person. He said: “ ‘oh, she can be very cantankerous at times, but she’s got a lovely sense of humour.”

The tourist then asked the Queen to get a photo of him with Dick. “Before I could see what was happening, he gets his camera and gives it to the queen and says ‘can you take a picture of us?’” The Queen agreed and then Dick took a photo of her with the hikers too. Later that day The Queen told him: “I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he shows those photographs to friends in America and hopefully someone tells him who I am.”

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