Throughout her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II remained a relatively private figure. She gave almost no interviews during her lifetime, preferring to fulfill her royal duties quietly. Due to this, her personality has mostly been captured by anecdotes shared by those close to her. One such story was given by one of her bodyguards to Sky News, which describes an instance where a pair of naive tourists did not recognize her.
The video—which took place during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebration in June 2022—interviewed Royal Protection Officer Richard Griffin, who worked for the Queen for a number of years. He was asked for a funny story about the Queen and immediately recounted a day during her holidays at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. “The Queen used to go up there in May to Craigowan house and just stay there privately for a weekend,” he explains. “And she would go up with lunchtime for picnics and very often it would just be the police officer and her majesty. And one of the picnics I went out with her, we had a lovely picnic and a lovely chat, and then we went out for a little walk just the two of us.”
Normally, there would be no others in the area, but on this particular day, Griffin and the Queen came across two Americans on a walking holiday. “It was clear from the moment we first stopped that they hadn't recognized the Queen, which is fine, and the American gentleman was telling the Queen where he came from, where they were going to next, and where they'd been to in Britain,” he continues. “And I could see it coming, and sure enough, he said to her majesty, ‘And where do you live?' And she said, ‘Well, I live in London, but I've got a holiday home just the other side of the hills.'” This was followed up with a question about how long the Queen had been visiting, to which she replied that she had been coming for over 80 years.
“So he said, ‘Well if you've been coming up here for 80 years, you must have seen the Queen.'” Griffin recounts. “And as quick as a flash, she says, ‘Well, I haven't, but Dick here meets her regularly.' So the guy said to me, ‘You've met the Queen? Well, what's she like?'” At this point, Griffin had been working with the Queen for a long time, and gave a cheeky answer that she could be “cantankerous” but had a “lovely sense of humor.” Afterward, the American put his arm around Griffin's shoulder and asked the Queen to take a picture of them, which she did. “Anyway, we swapped places, and I took a picture of them with the Queen and we never let on and we waved goodbye and her majesty said to me, ‘I'd love to be a fly on the wall when he shows those photographs to his friends in America and hopefully someone tells him who I am.'”
Although we may never know the conclusion to the story and if the American tourists ever discovered her true identity, this story provides wonderful insight into the Queen's witty personality.
Queen Elizabeth's former protection officer Richard Griffin shares a funny story in which a naive American tourist asked the Queen to take a photo of him with her bodyguard.