This royal “Punking” put Ashton Kutcher to shame.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II at 96 on Thursday, the royal’s friends and admirers came forward in droves to reminisce about her countless iconic moments. One of the more hilarious tales, shared by her bodyguard at the Queen’s Jubilee, came after the quick-witted monarch trolled two US tourists who didn’t recognize her at her own home.
“There were two hikers coming towards us and the queen would always stop and say hello,” former Protection Officer Richard Griffin told SKY News in a resurfaced clip about the uproarious encounter, which occurred while he was walking with Elizabeth outside Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Cue the “Undercover Boss” theme song! As the monarch was wearing a headscarf and a tweed jacket at the time, the tourists assumed she was just another visitor.
“It was two Americans on a walking holiday, and it was clear they hadn’t recognized her, which was fine,” Griffin recounted at June’s Platinum Jubilee. “The American man asked her if she lived in the area to which she replied that she did indeed have a house nearby.”
Refusing to blow her cover, Elizabeth coyly replied “that she lived in London but had a house just over the hill,” the bemused bodyguard added.
The oblivious tourist then asked the incognito monarch how long she had been coming here, whereupon she quipped that she’d been visiting the area for around 80 years, per Griffin’s account.
While this cheeky clue sent the “cogs” turning, according to Griffin, the oblivious tourist still didn’t recognize his famous acquaintance.
“He said: Well if you’ve been coming here for 80 years, you must have met the queen?” the security detail recalled of the face-palm-worthy moment.
That’s when the rapier-witted royal delivered the queen of all punkings.
“As quick as a flash, she said, ‘Well I haven’t, but Dick here meets her regularly,’ Griffin fondly recalled of the epic misdirection. “So the guy asked me what she was like.”
He continued, “And because I was with her a long time, I could pull her leg, so I said she could be very cantankerous at times, but she’s got a lovely sense of humor.”
At that point, the tourist, still not putting two and two together, put his arm around Griffin’s shoulder and gave his camera to Elizabeth so she could take a photo of them. They then had the two switch places so he could snap a photo with what he likely presumed was a random octogenarian — perhaps to be polite.
Even then, the “undercover boss” refused to reveal his hand.
“Anyway, we swapped places. I took a photo of them with the queen. We never let on and we waved goodbye,” Griffin explained. “Then her majesty said to me that she’d love to be a fly on the wall when he shows these photos to his American friends and hopefully someone tells him who I am.”
Needless to say, social media was in awe of Elizabeth’s ability to think on her feet.
“Fan-tas-tic! She’s a marvelous lady with a brilliant sense of humor,” gushed one starstruck Twitter comment.
One supporter wrote, “Can you all just call it done after Elizabeth II? End it on a good note.”
This isn’t the first time Elizabeth has showcased Oscar-worthy improv skills. She surprised royal fans when she appeared in a 2012 Olympics opening ceremony sketch with Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who co-wrote the Danny Boyle-directed sketchexplained how the sovereign desperately wanted a speaking role.
“On the day we were filming, she said to Danny Boyle, ‘I think I should have a line,’ ” he told the BBC on Friday. “She bagged that. She didn’t have a line in the script.”
“Good evening, Mr. Bond,” she memorably said to Craig’s 007 as they strolled through Buckingham Palace.