But the Queen was a woman who had a mischievous sense of humour, a woman who, in private and sometimes in public, loved a joke.
Remembering the Queen’s sense of fun
So today, in advance of all that sombre black, I suggest we remember her funny side. Mostly, as Sophie said last week, she kept a straight face in case someone was offended. But sometimes, just sometimes, she had a chance to let her puckish sense of fun have full rein.
Do you remember how we all reacted when we saw her going to the Olympics with James Bond, in 2012? Do play or replay the video above. It’s a joy. (And apologies if the video doesn’t appear in email versions of this blog. If you click on the image above, it should play in YouTube. It is also available on the Libertà website.)
They thought their only issue was to ensure that the actress playing the role wore the same dress that the Queen would be wearing, as Frank Cottrell-Boyce explains here.
And then the royal dresser told them that the Queen wanted to play herself.
Gasps all round. But how could they refuse?
They didn’t. Of course they didn’t. And the first gasps from the audience came when the figure at the desk in Buckingham Palace turned round to 007 and it really was the Queen. She then accompanied James Bond to the helicopter for the flight to the opening ceremony. The film showed it crossing London.
As we all discovered when that peach-clad figure jumped and the Union Jack parachute opened. To more gasps, followed by delighted laughter and applause.
And when the peach-clad Queen walked into the stadium, moments later, she kept a straight face. I think there’s a twinkle of laughter there, though. Don’t you?
The Queen loved to laugh…and to act
The image above shows the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) acting as principal boy in a Christmas pantomime during World War II. She was still a teenager then. Her even younger sister, Princess Margaret, is alongside, also in costume. No doubt the family loved it all. There may even have been gasps of laughter.
There was obvious and definite laughter in the Queen’s encounter with Paddington Bear for her platinum jubilee earlier this year.
It can’t have been easy for her to make this film. After all—and I’m really sorry if this shatters your illusions—Paddington wasn’t actually there. Did someone play the part to help the Queen get the reactions right? We’ll probably never know, but she did it beautifully.
She was, as so many have said, a class act.
So enjoy her Paddington encounter in the video below. I’ll admit it does make me a little emotional when I watch it, echoing Paddington’s sentiments, “Thank you. For everything.”