Queen Elizabeth's Funniest Moments

From the time she was a child, Queen Mary demanded her granddaughter keep a straight face because, according to her, it was inappropriate for monarchs to smile in public (per Vanity Fair). When she grew up, however, Queen Elizabeth became known for her cutting wit, which she would use to make her subjects feel at ease in her presence, diffuse uncomfortable situations, or even manage frightening situations.

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Those who worked for her were often treated to her sly sense of humor. Pipe Major Scott Methven, who played the pipes for her every morning for several years, recalled a time when he improperly addressed her as "Your Royal Highness," which is used for other members of the royal family. He quickly corrected himself: "I said, 'I do beg your pardon, good afternoon Your Majesty' and she grabbed me by the arm and said 'Pipes, it has been 60 years since somebody called me Your Royal Highness and I quite liked it'" (per BBC News).

Rowan Williams, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012, also had a personal relationship with the queen. He said, "I found, in the queen, someone who can be friendly, who can be informal, who can be extremely funny in private. Not everybody appreciates just how funny she can be. Who is quite prepared to tease and to be teased" (via The Guardian).

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She shared a funny observation after meeting Marilyn Monroe

In 1956, Marilyn Monroe and her husband, American playwright Arthur Miller, were living in the United Kingdom, where she was shooting "The Prince and the Showgirl" with Sir Laurence Olivier. According to Michelle Morgan, author of "When Marilyn Met the Queen," the screen siren's interest in meeting Queen Elizabeth grew during her time at Englefield Green, which is located near Windsor Castle (per People). Monroe, who apparently wished to have tea with the queen, would, in fact, end up meeting the monarch at a screening of the film "The Battle of the River Plate."

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Despite a request to dress conservatively, Monroe opted for a revealing gold lamé dress replete with a matching cape. Upon arriving at the Empire Theater in London, Monroe, along with several other stars, including Brigitte Bardot, Joan Crawford, and Victor Mature, waited nervously in the receiving line to meet Her Majesty.

The queen made her way down the line and, after executing her curtsy, Monroe engaged in a brief interaction with her. Per an excerpt of the aforementioned book in Town & Country, she described the queen afterward as warm-hearted and radiating with sweetness. Though the meet and greet went off without a hitch, the queen noticed that Monroe appeared uncomfortable and reportedly said to a friend, "I thought Miss Monroe was a very sweet person." However, the queen quite hilariously noted that she could tell she was "so nervous" because "she had licked all her lipstick off."

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She rescued Madame de Gaulle in an awkward moment

Queen Elizabeth came to the aid of France's first lady, Yvonne de Gaulle, in 1960, when the latter made a slip of the tongue due to her limited English-speaking skills (per Daily Mail). The queen was hosting a state dinner at Buckingham Palace for President Charles de Gaulle and his wife when someone asked Madame de Gaulle what she was most looking forward to when she retired. Royal author Adam Helliker told Fabulous Digital, "An awkward silence ensued for some time, until the Queen herself came to the rescue, and she said with a broad grin: "Ah, happiness'" (via Daily Mail).

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This hilarious incident was said to have been a favorite of Prince Philip's, who was known to be a jokester and often had the queen in stitches with his own escapades, according to Express. Royal watchers attributed the queen's quick response to her excellent sense of humor and years of experience in dealing with awkward situations (per Mirror). 

She made Ronald Reagan crack up

During Queen Elizabeth II's seven-decade reign, she met 13 American presidents, and it was reported that Ronald Reagan was her favorite. According to Fox News, the pair had much in common, including a passion for horseback riding, which they enjoyed together on occasion. In 1983, the queen and her husband Prince Philip embarked on her first, and much anticipated, visit to California. According to The Reagan Library, the 10-day trip was to commence with the royal couple's arrival in Santa Barbara on her yacht, Britannia, where they would be met by the Reagans. The area, however, was experiencing severe weather in the form of a massive storm that necessitated several changes in the itinerary.

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At a dinner held in her honor at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, she waited for her opportunity to bring down the house. Upon taking the microphone, the queen, who was wearing a diamond-encrusted crown and a beaded ivory dress, began her speech. A minute or so into it, she delivered her zinger with a straight face: "I knew before we came that we had exported many of our traditions to the United States, but I had not realized before that the weather was one of them." Her comment, which made light of the state's unusually stormy weather and its similarity to London's typically rainy climate, caused Reagan to howl with laughter. 

The queen had a witty response to being pelted with eggs in New Zealand

During a visit to New Zealand in 1986, Queen Elizabeth and her husband were riding in an open car through Ellerslie Racecourse in Aukland when two women posing as crowd control officers hurled eggs at them. Footage shows the royal couple waving at the onlookers as the twosome, who were protesting about the Treaty of Waitangi, carried out their goal. The queen's pink coat and the car's windshield received the brunt of the attack, but she appeared to take the incident in stride. According to AP News, the women shouted, ″We're bloody protesting, that's what. ... The queen's come here ... and they aren't honoring the treaty.″ The treaty they were referring to was a promise to protect the Māori culture.

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The country's Prime Minister was aghast at the incident, but the queen managed to make a joke about it a couple of days later during a speech at a state banquet. "New Zealand has long been renowned for its dairy produce, though I should say that I myself prefer my New Zealand eggs for breakfast," she quipped (Los Angeles Times). During that same trip, a man bared his buttocks at the motorcade over his anger at the treatment of the Māori, but the queen decided to leave him out of her subsequent remarks. 

She was well known for her abilities at mimicry

Queen Elizabeth entertained her friends and family with her outstanding ability to replicate virtually any accent. Her dresser, Angela Kelly, once revealed in an interview, "The Queen has a wicked sense of humour and is a great mimic" (via The U.S.Sun). Kelly said that the queen did a good impression of her own Scouse accent, which is a hallmark of Liverpool residents. She was also said to have delivered convincing impressions of numerous American presidents as well as Tony Blair and Boris Yeltsin, according to The Guardian.

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In her book, "The Wicked Wit of the Royal Family," Karen Dolby tells a story about Queen Elizabeth's trip to the Royal Ascot with her son King Charles III, then Prince Charles (via Express). Someone in the crowd shouted something as they drove past, but Charles couldn't make out what was said and asked his mother. The queen responded hilariously, "Gizza wave Liz!" in a Cockney accent. 

In a scary incident that occurred in 1982, a drunken man scaled his way up the walls of Buckingham Palace and into a window, where he was shocked to discover the sleeping queen, according to People. Thomas Blaikie, who has written extensively about the royals, recalled the incident. "After the terrific strain of the occasion, the queen sought relief in doing imitations of the cockney chambermaid coming upon the scene," Blaikie revealed. "For days afterwards Her Majesty was going about the palace, saying, 'Bloody 'ell, ma'am, what's 'e doin' in 'ere?'" (via Vanity Fair).

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She used to write letters on behalf of her corgis

It is well known that Queen Elizabeth loved corgis and, in fact, it is estimated that she owned more than 30 of them during the course of her rule (per Metro). Both the queen and her sister Margaret became enamored with the breed when they were children and shared ownership of their first corgi, named Dookie. At the age of 18, the future queen was given a corgi named Susan, which is said to be the ancestor of all of her subsequent dogs. The queen, who considered the pooches to be members of her family, reportedly took to writing letters on their behalf to other dogs owned by her staff members.

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Broadcaster Alexander Armstrong, who appeared in a documentary about the queen called "The Queen and Her Cousins," recalled that she and one of her equerries, Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson, would send letters back and forth to each other's dogs (via New York Post). "And put this series of letters up, and they are so funny. I wish I could remember them," he said. "I remember holding my stomach, howling with laughter because they are wickedly funny." 

She came across some hikers who didn't recognize her

Not one to be easily offended, the queen took a pair of hikers' failure to recognize her as an opportunity to have some fun. While on a walk with security guard Richard "Dick" Griffin in the hills near her Scottish castle, Balmoral, they came across two Americans who started up a conversation. It quickly became apparent, however, that they had no idea with whom they were speaking. As Griffin told Sky News, they shared details about their trip and asked the queen if she lived nearby. She replied that she lived in London, but had another house nearby. She also shared with the hikers that she'd been visiting the area for 80 years. This perked their interest. "Well if you've been coming up here for 80 years, you must have met the queen," they reasoned. She cheekily replied, "I haven't, but Dick here meets her regularly." The hikers then asked him what the queen was like and he said, "Well she can be cantankerous at times, but she's got a lovely sense of humor."

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The pair then asked the queen to take a photo of them with Griffin, and she obliged. Afterward, Griffin took some snaps of them with her. "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," the queen said to her bodyguard after the encounter.

She may have prevented Snoop Dogg from being kicked out of the country

Did Prince Harry or Prince William have something to do with performer Snoop Dogg's fate in the United Kingdom? The year was 1994 and the rapper was there to promote his new album, "Doggystyle" even as he was confronted with the prospect of being thrown out of the country. On the front page of a newspaper, Snoop was pictured wearing handcuffs. "They didn't like it. They were like, 'Kick this evil bastard out,'" Snoop told DJ Whoo Kid in an interview. "But guess who came to my defense? Just take a guess" he challenged the host. When Whoo Kid failed to guess correctly, Snoop informed him that it was none other than the queen herself who had saved him from being permanently exiled from the U.K. "This man has done nothing in our country. He can come," Snoop elaborated. 

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He then went on to describe the scenario he imagined may have happened — it had the two princes intervening on his behalf. Snoop reineacted his vision while employing an English accent, "That's Harry and William's grandmother, you dig?" he said. "You think they weren't there, saying, 'Grandma, please let him in, grandma. He's OK. We love his music.' 'You know Harry, I'll let him in for you. He's not so bad after all and he's quite cute' ...The queen, that's my gal" beamed Snoop.

President George W. Bush almost aged her by 200 years

During a visit to the White House in 2007, President George W. Bush made one of his fairly common verbal blunders at the queen's expense. By that point, she had been on the throne for 55 years and had known 10 American presidents. However, Bush nearly aged the queen by two hundred years when he spoke at the historic occasion. "The American people are proud to welcome your majesty back to the United States, a nation you've come to know very well. After all you've dined with 10 U.S. presidents. You've helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 — in 1976." He corrected himself and looked over at the queen before telling the crowd, "She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child" (per Reuters).

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The queen took her turn and gently jabbed back at the president during a dinner at the British ambassador's residence the following evening. "I wondered whether I should start this toast by saying, 'When I was here in 1776...'" The crowd, including President Bush, erupted with laughter (per The Guardian). 

The queen goes boom

"Hey, @KensingtonRoyal! Are you ready for @InvictusOrlando? Game on." This was the tweet from then-First Lady Michelle Obama and the first official — and good-natured — salvo fired at the United Kingdom regarding the 2016 Invictus Games, an international competition for wounded, sick, and injured servicemen and women. The Obamas appear in an accompanying video in which Michelle Obama challenges the royal: "Hey Prince Harry, remember when you told us to bring it at the Invictus Games?" President Obama continues, "Careful what you wish for," before a service member behind them says "boom" and makes the iconic mic drop gesture. 

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Not to be outdone, Prince Harry, who founded the Invictus Games, enlisted his grandmother, the queen, to craft a formidable response. In the video, he is seen receiving the video message from the F.L.O.T.U.S., which he shares with the monarch. Unimpressed, she responds, "Boom, really? Please." Prince Harry drops the mic with his own "boom." The queen has spoken. 

She photobombed some Australian hockey players

In 2014, the queen made headlines after an appearance on social media. During the Commonwealth Games, held that year in Glasgow, Scotland, a player from the Australian soccer team named Jayde Taylor had the honor of meeting the queen at the National Hockey Center (per The Guardian). She and teammate Brooke Peris decided to commemorate the moment with a selfie and only discovered the queen posing in the background afterward. 

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"Ahhh The Queen photo-bombed our selfie!" she captioned her tweet of the picture, in which the monarch can be seen smiling in the background behind some mesh fencing. In an interview after the queen's death in September 2022, Taylor recalled the funny experience. "The beautiful thing about it was that it was such a positive moment and there wasn't any negativity surrounding it so it was quite light and fluffy and beautiful and exciting and really lovely." 

Elton John had a funny encounter with the queen

"She had a wonderful wry and dry sense of humor, and it was a very important ingredient of her identity," royal historian and biographer Robert Lacey characterized the queen when speaking with The Guardian. "I would say that her sense of humor and her religious faith were two of the personal elements that kept her so much on track." Lacey was not alone in appreciating her comedic antics.

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Performer Elton John, who was knighted by the queen in 1998, is just one of many subjects who admired her. He shared a story that illustrated her wit in his memoir, "Me." As he detailed, he was at an event where he spied the queen interacting with her nephew from afar. Apparently, she had asked him to go check on his mother (her sister) and he was resisting. John described what followed, writing, "The Queen lightly slapped him across the face, saying, 'Don't' — SLAP — 'argue' — SLAP — 'with' — SLAP — 'me' — SLAP — 'I' — SLAP — 'am' — SLAP— 'THE QUEEN!' As he left, she saw me staring at her, gave me a wink and walked off." 

After the queen's death, he dedicated a performance of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" to the monarch. "I'm 75 and she's been with me all my life and I feel very sad that she won't be with me anymore, but I'm glad she's at peace," he told the audience (via Billboard).

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She joked about people wanting her dead

Jekka McVicar has been called the "Queen of Herbs," so perhaps it was fitting that she had a conversation with her royal counterpart, Queen Elizabeth, at the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show. "Her knowledge, her inquisitiveness, her way of asking a question and putting you at ease was phenomenal — and also she had this delightful humor," McVicar said of the now famous interaction she had with the late British monarch (per Grazia).

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Upon meeting the queen, who began her patronage of the Royal Horticultural Society's famed show in 1952, the world-renowned herb gardener presented her with some lilies of the valley, to which the queen responded, "I didn't know lilies of the valley were an herb." McVicar clarified, "Yes ma'am, they are. Interestingly, I was contacted the other day by an author who wanted a herb that could kill someone without anyone knowing what it was, and I suggested lily of the valley, because it has the same properties as foxglove."

The queen saw her opening and responded slyly, "Oh! I've been given a number of posies of lilies of the valley lately. Do you think someone wants me dead?"

She wanted Princess Catherine to hurry up and give birth

Though the queen clearly loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she wasn't one to mince words when it came to her wishes. While waiting for the arrival of Prince William and Princess Catherine's first child, who was due any day, the queen made time for a visit to Cumbria, England where she was greeted by a group of school children (via Today).

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Footage of the event shows the queen walking past the youngsters as one of them inquires, "Do you want Kate's baby to be a boy or a girl?" The queen was quick to respond. "I don't think I mind," she said. "I would very much like it to arrive," she continued, "because I'm going on holiday soon." 

Experts surmised that the queen was referring to her annual trip to Balmoral, Scotland (per Hello). She typically spent the months of August and September there with her family. Per her wishes, Prince George was born just a few days later on July 22, 2013. 

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