Queen Elizabeth II: Five Memorable Moments

While our beloved Queen always sat as a bastion of calmness and control, she retained a wicked ability to surprise us. Here we celebrate occasions when the delight, dominance, devilishness and charm of Elizabeth II really came to the fore.

For Queen and country, 2012

If ever there was a moment which perfectly encapsulated everything that is beautifully British, it came at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony in London.

The stage was set, and the eyes of the world were on Stratford. A video begins showing Daniel Craig’s James Bond arriving at Buckingham Palace, where he is escorted to Her Majesty by two loyal corgis. The pair then make their way to a helicopter and after a whistlestop tour of London – not to mention a wave from Churchill – seemingly parachute jump into the stadium. The Queen then appears in the royal box alongside Prince Philip to roars of applause.

Annus horibilis, 1992

We all know how it feels to have one of those year’s where everything terrible happens all at once; yet imagine that year is not only under the gaze of the public, but that you then are obliged to give a speech to mark your 40th anniversary as the Queen of Great of Britain.

It would have been acceptable for Her Majesty to not mention the woes that had recently engulfed her family – from the revelation of lusty phone calls between Camilla and Charles to the separation of Andrew and Fergie, alongside the blaze that literally engulfed Windsor Castle – but instead she faced head-on the catastrophes that threatened her exemplary reign.

“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure,” the Queen revealed. “In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘annus horribilis.’“

The sword and the cake, 2021

Just like in the mythical days of King Arthur, the notion of a monarch wielding a sword to defend the people and land of their kingdom is branded in our imaginations.

It was this irresistible urge then, which spurned our very own Queen to take up a ceremonial sabre to defeat her foe. The battlefield: the 2021 G7 summit in Cornwall. Her target: an enormous cake.

The rambling rose, 2008

The Platinum Jubilee earlier this year offered those closest to the Queen the ideal moment to recount their favourite memories of her; and one of the most unforgettable (and entertaining) must be this recollection by her former Royal Protection officer, Richard Griffin, who recalls them bumping into some American tourists near Balmoral.

“It was clear from the moment we stopped that they hadn’t recognised the Queen,” he said. Upon asking where she lived, the Queen said “Well, I live in London, but I’ve got a holiday home just on the other side of the hills. I’ve been coming up here ever since I was a little girl, over 80 years”.

The Americans asked if she’d ever met the Queen to which she replied, “I haven’t, but Dickie here meets her regularly.” They excitedly took pictures with the pair before going on their way. Richard said that later, the Queen joked “I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he shows those photographs to his friends in America. Hopefully someone tells him who I am.”

Lady Ma’amalade, 2022

Another special Jubilee moment was the video of our magnificent late Queen with fellow national treasure, Paddington Bear, who had come to have tea at Buckingham Palace.

As is befitting of our beloved bear, chaos ensues: tea is greedily slurped, China teapots are nearly broken, and cream cakes are squirted.

By way of apology for his poor behaviour Paddington offers Her Majesty a marmalade sandwich, but she already has one tucked away in her bag: ‘for later’.

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