How many people in the world make headlines every time they crack a joke?
Queen Elizabeth, as the reigning monarch of the most famously uptight nation in the world, doesn’t get too many chances to unleash the wicked sense of humour she supposedly has. Jokes might be taken the wrong way, offend someone, or reveal that she has an opinion about something, somewhere – which she’s very much not supposed to do.
So the flashes of humour we do get have a higher entertainment value – kind of like when your mum is usually the peacemaker and the sweetheart but then absolutely roasts your little brother at the dinner table and everyone absolutely loses it.
This means that when the Queen is hanging out with Sir David Attenborough and makes a joke about how low-flying helicopters are like President Trump, or something, she gets a Twitter Moment.
— ITV News (@itvnews) April 10, 2018
I mean, she immediately ruined it by mentioning Obama as well as Trump, which both confused the joke and took the sass out, but whatever.
If some random Australian expat on Quora who claims to have met the Queen around 1990 is to be believed, that’s not even the first time she’s sassed an aircraft:
When on a working holiday to London, I happened to be watching a cricket match between some Melbourne lads we’d met and the Royal household team in the grounds Windsor Castle… and the Queen and Prince Phillip came to watch a bit of it…
I was in a small group of about six people chatting with her and a girl I was with asked how she felt about all the low-flying planes (we’d been earlier introduced to plane-spotting; the cricket must not have been riveting).
The Queen replied, “Yes, I cannot fathom why Victoria built Windsor so close to Heathrow.”
I mean, that’s a legitimately good joke.
There’s also the time she roasted Charles to President Gerald Ford, the time she probably made a herb gardener uncomfortable by joking about people trying to assassinate her with flowers, the time she brought out the real talk about how uncomfortable crowns and golden carriages are, the time she photobombed some Hockeyroos…
— Jayde Taylor (@_JaydeTaylor) July 24, 2014
And what we must refer to as The Breadstick Incident, as narrated by Stephen Fry:
[Fashion designer] Hardy Amies, when he was first told that he was going to be designing frocks for the Queen, was invited to lunch at Buckingham Palace and was rather startled to see that he was, in fact, the only guest. And the footman came in with a big glass with breadsticks in it, you know, those grissinis, and the Queen leant forward and took five of them out and put them on her side plate, so he did the same thing, thinking, “I’ve gotta do exactly the same.”
So he took out five of these breadsticks, and… he just sort of nibbled on one[…] And then a footman came in with four corgis, and she gave one to each corgi. Then she turned to Hardy Amies and said, “So, Mr Amies! What are you going to do with yours?”
I mean, look – if you remove her from the context where all her great aunts and uncles had a bunch of genocides done in their name and her horrid old husband is six foot two inches of 1800s Disney-style racist who makes the version of himself on The Crown look sympathetic and the monarchy as a whole is absurd and pointless, you can just pretend she’s an adorable old lady who’d sass you as soon as look at you.
That said, if she wants to abdicate any time soon, I’d very much watch her and Sir David look at trees and talk s**t about Margaret Thatcher for as many seasons as they want.