She is not amused

05:54, Jun 05 2012
Diamond jubilee
Prince Charles (L) is shown a sculpture piece by sculptor Alan Lamb (R) which will adorn the Spirit of Chartwell luxury cruiser.
Diamond jubilee
Original bottle of beers commemorating the Queen's silver jubilee are lined up beneath a commemorative plate from 1977 in The Jubilee pub in Sunbury-on-Thames in south west London.
Diamond jubilee
23 month old Scarlett Rose Green claps her hands in front of a Union flag on the door of The Jubilee in London.
Diamond jubilee
Florist Kelly Jordan prepares her shop, Charmaine's Florist, featuring a re-creation of a first class stamp made of flowers.
Diamond jubilee
A woman jogs past a shop windows decorated with Union Jack flags on Knightsbridge road in west London.
Diamond jubilee
People walk past the stage built at the Queen Victoria Memorial for the Diamond Jubilee concert in London.
Diamond jubilee
An antique store in Portobello Market in west London.
Diamond jubilee
Bunting in Sunbury-on-Thames.
Boats make their way down the River Thames in London for the river pageant. For only the second time in its history Britain celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch.
Boats make their way down the River Thames in London for the river pageant. For only the second time in its history Britain celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch.
Boats line up for the start of the jubilee river pageant in London.
Boats line up for the start of the jubilee river pageant in London.
A young spectator waits for the start of the pageant along the River Thames in London.
A young spectator waits for the start of the pageant along the River Thames in London.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee
The Queen with Prince Philip, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, aboard the Spirit of Chartwell during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on the River Thames, in London.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee
The 'Gloriana' leads the hand-powered craft past Chelsea Bridge during Queen Elizabeth's Thames river pageant during her Diamond Jubilee in London.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee
The New Zealand waka Te Hono ki Aotearoa during the Queen Elizabeth's Thames river pageant on her Diamond Jubilee in London.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge board the Spirit of Chartwell for Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee
The Queen waves from on-board the Spirit of Chartwell, as it approaches Westminster Bridge during her Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key shakes hands with the crew of boys from Marlborough Boys' College as they depart on the whaleboat Swiftsure 1 as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla.

There are no pictures of the Queen having a laugh on the internet, discovers columnist Craig Cliff .

Dear Your Royal Highness,

Please accept this telegram on the occasion of your diamond jubilee.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth watches during her Diamond Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace in London.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth watches during her Diamond Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace in London.

To be honest, you haven't been at the forefront of my thoughts these past 29 years but every so often I will be struck down with QEII fever.

Like the other day. Do you know how long it took me to find a photo of you eating on the internet? I'd seen yet another snap of you toasting a head of state and it occurred to me that I'd never seen you cutting into a nice side of beef, or swan, or whatever it is you royals eat. Do you keep those silky white gloves on? According to the etiquette guides, one mustn't eat with one's gloves on, but I needed to see firsthand.

I spent an hour of my life scouring Google and YouTube, refining search terms ("Queen eating", "Elizabeth II dining", "chow time at Buckingham Palace") until, finally, the internet relented.

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There you were, seated next to your friend, Margaret, on the porch of a log cabin on Balmoral Estate, a serviette across your tartan skirt, a plate of chicken and salad atop your lap. You are looking up at the camera, curving your regal mouth into an obliging smile for whoever Margaret has roped into taking the photo. Your third-rate silver cutlery is poised over a drumstick, your hands completely bare. On the rail next to you, catching the glint of the Aberdeenshire sun, is a glass of gin and Dubonnet with a fat slice of lemon under the ice, just as your mum liked it.

And you know what, Your Majesty? I felt scandalised by this image. You could have been my nana at a family barbecue. You almost look like you were having fun. If there's one thing I've learnt in my time on this earth, it's that the Queen does not do fun. The preceding hour of internet stalking you could attest to this.

Perhaps it's because one mustn't rub it in the faces of the less fortunate, you having all those tiaras and flashy coats, those hunting estates and Beefeaters. Or perhaps havin' a laugh is simply not the English way. (If this is the case, you're the last English person left on the planet.)

Hey, don't get me wrong, I respect the effort you've put in. You've been in the public eye your entire life, not just these past 60 years, and yet where's the funniest home video of you slipping on a banana peel or pile of corgi doodie? In an age when no-one bats an eyelid at the latest starlet's nipple-slip or up-skirt, I can only find one photo of you eating.

When the rest of your family has been dragged over the coals for their foot fetishes and fancy-dress costumes, you've kept your dignity. You are beyond reproach, a schadenfreude-free zone. This is your greatest achievement.

So that's what I'll be toasting every time an image of jubilee festivities flashes on my TV screen.

To the Queen, for never letting the veil slip (apart from that one time at Balmoral), and for reminding us that pomp and pageantry are not just for the North Koreans.

Your humble subject,

Craig

Craig Cliff is a Wellington writer who likes to have a laugh. He writes a fortnightly column.

The Dominion Post