The day I met the Queen: People share fond memories – including the hapless American tourists who didn’t recognise the monarch and asked HER to take a picture of them with her royal protection officer as she walked near Balmoral
- People have been sharing fond memories of meeting the Queen after her death on Thursday
- Former protection officer Richard Griffin told the story of two American tourists who did not recognise her
- Millie Robson, 15 at the time, was visited by the Queen in hospital after the Manchester Arena attack in 2017
- Did you meet the Queen? Send your pictures and memories of her to [email protected]
- Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing
People are sharing fond memories of meeting the Queen following her death – including the story of hapless American tourists who chatted to her but had no idea she was the Monarch.
The story of how Queen Elizabeth handled an encounter with American hikers who had no idea who she was, recounted by a former bodyguard who was with her that day, revealed the fun-loving side of her personality the public rarely saw.
The monarch was out in the hills near her Scottish castle at Balmoral when two U.S. tourists on a walking holiday approached them and engaged in conversation.
‘There were two hikers coming towards us – and the Queen would always stop and say hello. And it was two Americans on a walking holiday,’ Royal Protection Officer Richard Griffin told Sky News during celebrations of Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne earlier this year.
‘It was clear from the moment that we stopped that they hadn’t recognised the Queen – which is fine.
Former Royal Protection Officer Richard Griffin told an amusing tale of two American tourists who did not recognise the Queen
The monarch was out in the hills near her Scottish castle at Balmoral when two U.S. tourists on a walking holiday approached them and engaged in conversation – but they did not know she was the Monarch
Millie Robson, from County Durham was visited by the Queen in hospital when she was 15. She said she was ‘grateful and honoured’ by the visit
Di Bellis sent in a collage of pictures from meeting the Queen at Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire – many have recalled historical encouters with the Monarch
The Queen and Prince Charles walking on the Balmoral estate – Scotland was a very special place for the Monarch over the years
The Queen in a photograph in the drawing room at Balmoral shortly before her meeting with Ms Truss, whom she appointed as her Prime Minister, on Tuesday
‘The American gent was telling the Queen where they came from, where they were going to next, and where they’d been to in Britain.
‘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 have got a holiday home just the other side of the hills.’
She did not say she was referring to Balmoral.
Aware that the castle was in the vicinity, the hiker then asked her if she had ever met the queen, Mr Griffin said.
‘Quick as a flash she said: ‘I haven’t, but Dick here meets her regularly”.
The hiker than asked Griffin what the monarch was like in person.
People have been tweeting about their fond memories of meeting the Queen – showing she always gave people the time of day
‘Because I was with her a long time and I knew I could pull her leg, I said ‘oh, she can be very cantankerous at times, but she’s got a lovely sense of humour,” Mr Griffin said.
Delighted, the hiker then put his arm around the officer’s shoulder and asked if he could have a picture of the two of them together.
‘Before I could see what was happening, he gets his camera and gives it to the queen and says ‘can you take a picture of us?”
The queen obliged, and then Griffin took the camera and took a picture of her with the pair of hikers.
Later, Mr Griffin said the queen told him: ‘I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he shows those photographs to friends in America and hopefully someone tells him who I am.’
Andrew Peden, from Farnborough, told the MailOnline about how met the Queen in 1999 – when he served her at the Chelsea Flower Show.
‘I was at catering college in 1990. We did some work experience at the Chelsea Flower Show.
‘My friend and I were chosen to serve drinks and canapés at the top table on the royal’s ladies day. I felt very honoured.
‘The Queen was very pleasant. I only spoke to her once “More tea, ma’am”, and she said “No thank you” – short, but sweet conversation!’
Tina Nicholls met the Queen when was asked to volunteer at Buckingham Palace – she said she was quite nervous beforehand
Harry Dymond, who lives near Southampton, in Hampshire, was lucky enough to have seen the Queen twice in his life
Millie Robson was visited by the Queen at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital after the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.
She was 15 at the time and posted on Twitter to honour Her Majesty following her death, saying: ‘This moment meant so much to me.’
A Royal super-fan who met the Queen more times than any other member of the public says he will miss HRH – who used to call him ‘Union Jack Man’.
Terry Hutt, 87, has a home crammed with royal memorabilia and says he is “heartbroken”.
The devoted fan has spent decades travelling to Buckingham Palace and other royal residences to wait outside and meet the Windsors.
A mother whose two children ‘gate-crashed’ royal security to meet the Queen has spoken of the ‘magical moment’ during the Monarch’s visit to their home city, 20 years ago.
Farmer’s wife and medical secretary Lesley Smith took her children Garry, 10, and Emma-Rose, seven, to Glasgow in May 2002 where the Queen was due to meet dignitaries in George Square as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
‘The children both had flowers and there were some military veterans in wheelchairs at the front who let them stand in front for a better view as we waited for her to arrive,’ recalled Lesley, 50.
‘When her limousine came into sight, the crowd all cheered and I think Emma-Rose just went with the flow and stepped forward a few paces and beckoned her brother to follow her.
‘They were stopped by a security guard and then the crowd started chanting “Let the children through!”.
‘The Queen wondered what the noise was about and turned round, then beckoned to the children to come forward with their flowers.
‘She took the bouquets and thanked them and spoke to them for a couple of minutes. As they were eventually ushered back to us in the crowd, Garry turned around and waved at her and she waved back.’
‘It was a really magical moment which has stayed with them all their lives,’ added Lesley, from Strathaven near East Kilbride, south-east of Glasgow.
Terry Hutt, 87, is a royal superfan and has a home crammed with royal memorabilia – he says he is heartbroken
Terry, 87, says he has been receiving calls from people all over the world to reflect upon Her Majesty’s memory, and it has only reaffirmed how many were touched by her grace
A mother whose two children ‘gate-crashed’ royal security to meet the Queen has spoken of the ‘magical moment’ during the Monarch’s visit to their home city, 20 years ago
Lesley Smith took her children Garry, 10, and Emma-Rose, seven, to Glasgow in May 2002 where the Queen was due to meet dignitaries in George Square as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations
‘The Queen wondered what the noise was about and turned round, then beckoned to the children to come forward with their flowers,’ Lesley Smith said
Dr Ian Griffin shared a photo on Twitter of an invitation to attend a reception hosted by the Queen and Prince Philip for representatives of the British scientific community on October 24, 2006.
He said: ‘The day I met the Queen and via an odd set of circumstances ended up having a discussion with her about light pollution around Sandringham.
‘She was so wise & will be missed. The world has lost an icon. Thank you for everything.’
@MsScarletBlade tweeted her story saying, ‘As a girl, I met and spoke with The Queen.
‘A woman pushed in front of me, Her Majesty didn’t let her get away with it. I remember it word for word.
‘She took the orchids I gave her, and we had a conversation around Mum and I growing them. She made me feel special. That’s rare.’
A writer and freelance teacher recalled the Queen visiting a school he was working in and said she seemed genuinely interested in the kids.
‘I met the Queen once. She visited an infant school I was working in,’ he tweeted.
‘We shook hands and it seemed she was genuinely interested in what the children were doing.
‘Most of all, she was present. She must have done things like that a million times, but it didn’t feel like it.’
Ian Griffin tweeted about meeting the Queen at a reception given at Buckingham Palace by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
Steven Mclauchlan tweeted: ‘I met the the Queen once and only spoke to her for maybe 20 seconds, she didn’t have to stop and speak to everyone but did, which said so much about her, 20 seconds out of her day was a lifetime memory and career highlight for me.’
Harry Dymond, who lives near Southampton, Hampshire, told the BBC he had seen the Queen twice – the first time as a 13-year-old when he was chosen as a St John’s Ambulance cadet to attend the Queen’s coronation.
‘I was so pleased and honoured to think that I would be at the coronation and could possibly see the Queen. I had no thought at that time, of course, that I might ever see her again,’ he said.
He then met her again 62 years later when he received an MBE for his services to St John’s Ambulance and the community.
‘For that very little time you are with her, you feel like you are the only person in the world,’ Mr Dymond said.
‘She’s got a marvellous ability just to make you so relaxed and able to talk to her freely and simply.’
Tina Nicholls also met the Queen when she was asked to volunteer at Buckingham Palace.
‘She came down the line and she spoke to each of us in turn. We had a short chat and then she moved on,’ Ms Nicholls said.
‘It was the most wonderful and surreal moment of my life. I do cherish that one, it’s very special to me. She is a special woman.’
Beverley Bowman met the Queen in 2019 when she opened the Haig Housing Estate in Morden, south London.
Beverley said: ‘She came into our house and she spoke with our family.
‘She was a lovely woman and made us feel at ease. She knew about our daughter who we lost at birth.
‘She was genuinely interested which was lovely and interacted with our sons. Nothing but good words for her, she entranced everyone when she was here.’
Writer Catrina McHugh, who founded the Open Clasp Theatre Company, recalled when she was awarded her MBE.
‘When I met the Queen I wanted to hug her, I felt overwhelmed and she reminded me of my aunty Maggie. She was kind.’
One Twitter user wrote: ‘I met the Queen in 2011. I expected someone regal but she was just a delightful little grandma. I got so tongue tied with Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness and Ma’am that in the end she laughed and told me not to be daft. My greatest achievement, making the Queen laugh. Bill.’
Noona Hora recalled meeting the Queen when she was younger. She said: ‘When I was a child, I was invited to a Xmas party at the Royal Mews, I met the Queen in the stables and offered her one of my roasted chestnuts she said “no thank you my dear I’ve already eaten,” she was very nice.’
Helen McLean’s father Wing Commander R W Guy was Station Commander and RAF Kemble and received the Queen when she used the base to fly in and out of the area.
Helen said: ‘Dad was very taken with her and remarked how she showed genuine interest in the people she met and what she was shown, taking the time to listen and look at things.’
Di Bellis also shared pictures of meeting the Queen and Prince Philip in Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, including one of Robert Bellis handing the monarch some flowers.
Annette German, who attended the Queen’s coronation, said the Queen ‘could not better have dedicated her life’ to her people.
Dr Linda Yueh, executive chairwoman of the Royal Commonwealth Society, said the Queen offered a ‘personal touch’ to all those she met.
The Queen was patron of the charity, which works to improve the lives of people living in Commonwealth countries.
‘She had an incredible smile that lit up the room,’ she told BBC Breakfast.
‘It doesn’t matter how many times you meet her, it’s always special.
‘I think I was always very struck by her interest and how involved she was in some of the projects that we delivered in her name.
‘And you just know the Queen would have had a question for you and listened intently to your answer.
‘I think her personal touch, I think, is what most of us will be reflecting on.’
Speaking outside Buckingham Palace yesterday, Ms German, 84, a retired teacher from south London, said: ‘I was with my grandmother at the coronation and when I heard the news she was unwell, I thought I must be there and I got on a train and got the news as I was just round the corner.
‘I share a birthday with the Queen and I’ve listened to the national anthem every birthday.
‘I’m from a left-wing family but massively in favour, the Queen could not have better-dedicated her life to her country.’
Speaking of her shared birthday with the Queen, she said: ‘It’s a very special. I’ve had that link all that life.’
A US couple who received a touching letter from The Queen say they’re considering their unborn child ‘Elizabeth’ after hearing news of her death.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip with their baby son, Prince Edward on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on June 13, 1964
Elizabeth II is pictured here next to husband Prince Philip and other royals at Buckingham Palace on December 8, 2016
Katelyn Sutherland, 31, and her husband Aaron, 34, received the royal message after they sent The Queen a picture of their daughter, Jalayne, now two, dressed just like her.
And now Katelyn is pregnant with her second child, she says Elizabeth is ‘in the running’ to be the name they call their new baby, who is due in late October.
The married couple, from suburban Kentucky, said they never expected to get a return letter from the palace and had sent the original letter on a whim last year.
So they were ‘amazed’ when the ‘heartwarming’ note arrived in the post from Her Majesty a few months later, thanking them for the ‘splendid’ photo of their daughter.
Katelyn said she was ‘really sad’ to learn about The Queen’s death yesterday adding that she had been a ‘role model’ for people around the world.
She said: ‘We were really sad to hear that news, and although we don’t know her personally, we do feel connected to her, with everything that has happened with my daughter and the letter.
‘Although she’s not our queen, given that we’re in the United States, she is definitely a role model to me and my daughter.
‘Now I’m pregnant, and we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, but my husband’s grandma is also named Elizabeth, so it is in the running as one of the names if it’s a girl.’
Hundreds of people have gathered at Buckingham Palace gates to pay tribute to the Queen the day after her death.
Mourners, many dressed all in black, congregated beside hundreds of colourful bouquets and messages which had been left overnight and early in the morning.
A large Union flag in tones of black and grey has been pinned to the right flank of the gates, while police officers kept a crowd back from the main gates further to the left.
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