As the monarch of the United Kingdom as well as 15 Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth has long been the strong, steady guiding hand that has helped England stay on track through good times and bad. In public, she has to maintain that steadfast image, sometimes to the point of appearing steely or cold, and royal protocol prevents her from speaking publicly about current events and scandals — just about anything.
But, behind closed doors, the queen isn’t so different than you and me. She likes to laugh, poke fun at herself, and revel in the company of her pets. This is according to Sally Bedell Smith, royal biographer and author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch. She spoke to People in January 2021 about the private side of the monarch and even shared anecdotes to illustrate her point.
So, if you’re curious to see a bit of the woman behind the crown, keep reading.
The queen has a healthy sense of humor
Queen Elizabeth is “much livelier in private than what the public sees,” Sally Bedell Smith told People. For example, the monarch has a healthy sense of humor behind closed doors, even when the topic is herself. Once, when watching footage of the wedding between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, she spotted herself on TV and couldn’t help but take a crack at her own appearance, says Smith, “The Queen said, ‘Oh, there’s my Miss Piggy face.’ She has the ability to laugh at herself.”
Apparently, she also has the ability to laugh with abandon, too. A source from Sandringham, the queen’s Norfolk estate, told Smith that she has a “big laugh,” noting: “‘You can hear her laugh throughout that big house.'” Another time, after an official photo shoot to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, in 212, she told the photographer to “keep the camera rolling” and went on to strike a series of model-like poses, Smith says.
Queen Elizabeth can also be down-to-earth: She loves the outdoors (including hunting and hiking) and animals, owning a pack of small dogs (mostly Corgis) as well as ponies. She continues to ride to this day. Her friend and equine adviser Monty Roberts (who’s portrayed in the series The Crown) told Smith, “She goes into a peaceful mode when she is with horses.”
The queen might live in another world, but it’s not entirely different than ours — full of laughter, humor, and furry friends.
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