Happy 90th birthday to Queen Elizabeth II, whose royal appearances have included stately summits, dignified ceremonies — and “skydiving” on a mission with James Bond.
For the 2012 Olympics in London, Elizabeth joined Daniel Craig, in 007 mode, for a Danny Boyle-directed segment that appeared to show the queen hurling herself from a helicopter into the stadium hosting the Opening Ceremony. In truth, stuntman Gary Connery pulled off the feat while fitted in his own version of the queen’s pink dress, but the hilarious sequence still showcased her sillier side.
“It was not a case of having to persuade the queen to take part,” an official reportedly told London’s Daily Mirror in July 2012. “Her Majesty said ‘yes’ to it straight away. She thought it was such brilliant fun. And when the idea for the format was explained to her she was happy with that, too. When we came to filming it the queen was a natural.”
The queen herself said she enjoyed the experience, calling it “a bit of a laugh,” according to the Mirror.
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But that’s not the only time the royal matriarch has dabbled in the quirky or unusual.In addition to that (fabricated) royal skydive, here are seven more of the queen’s most delightfully silly moments:
1. Being a cute cut-up as a child
If you’re not being silly as a kid, you may not be a kid. In a montage of vintage video clips uploaded to the British Monarchy’s official YouTube page in 2014, wee “Lilibet” is seen making the most of her childhood, throwing her weight around on a see-saw, playing with puppies, and gleefully dancing for the camera.
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2. Impersonating people (and at least one plane)
While we shouldn’t expect a cold-open cameo on “Saturday Night Live” in the near future, the queen has built some comedy cred as an impersonator. According to the Associated Press, the late Ian Paisley, a clergyman-politician from Northern Ireland, hailed her for being a “great mimicker” of him, and the late Bi Michael Mann, who’d served as her domestic chaplain, called her imitation of the Concorde landing “one of the funniest things you could see.”
3. Calling herself “Miss Piggy”
While watching highlights from the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Elizabeth told her husband, ‘Oh, Philip, do look! I’ve got my Miss Piggy face on,'” according to the Mirror. The self-effacing moniker has remained an inside joke among her family and staff ever since. For her 60th birthday in 1986, Buckingham Palace staffers gave her a birthday card depicting the porcine Muppet as the queen herself; upon opening the card, the queen “burst into peals of laughter,” the Mirror reported.
4. Pranking Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah
In his memoir “Ever the Diplomat,” Sherard Cowper-Coles chronicled how, in 1998, the Queen offered the then-crown prince of Saudi Arabia a tour — then shocked him when she served as his temporary chauffeur. Wrote Cowper-Coles, “To [Abdullah’s] surprise, the queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. Women are not — yet — allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen.” Elizabeth apparently enjoyed pushing several limits, including, perhaps, speed. “Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead,” Cowper-Coles added.
5. Declining to sit in the Iron Throne on the set of “Game of Thrones”
While her June 2014 visit to the Northern Ireland set of the HBO drama was rather stately, one could argue it’s silly to be that close to the Iron Throne and not sit in it. But perhaps when you have your own throne, it’s a been-there, done-that sort of thing.
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6. Photobombing fans
Jayde Wells, an Australian field-hockey Olympian competing in the Commonwealth Games, scored off the field in July 2014, when she and her buddy snagged a shot of the queen sneaking a peek into her camera lens. Equal parts adorable and hilarious, the resulting photo went viral, and was crowned TODAY.com’s best photobomb of 2014.
7. Teasing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau … and herself
Queen Elizabeth Jokes About Her Age
In November 2015, just five months before turning 90, the queen attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where she tweaked the newly elected Canadian head of state for praising her “long and tireless service.” With a fierce deadpan, she quipped, “Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister of Canada, for making me feel so old.”
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