Former Royal Protection Officer Richard Griffin fondly recalled a day when the Queen pranked oblivious American tourists who didn’t realize they were in the presence of royalty.
One of my favorite stories is when we were at Balmoral and the Queen used to go up there in May to Krogan House and just stay there privately for a weekend.
They were enjoying a lovely picnic at Balmoral when two American hikers approached them. The man, seemingly ignorant as to who she was, talked about their visit and asked where she was from and how long she’d been coming to the location.
He said, ‘Well, how often have you been coming up here?’ …she said, ‘I’ve been coming up here ever since I was a little girl, so over 80 years’ …he said… ‘If you’ve been coming up here for 80 years, you must have met the Queen’.
An amused Elizabeth, who was known for her whimsical sense of humor, pointed to Griffin and said that she hadn’t, but Griffin had. The American asked what she was like, and Griffin, who was playing along, said that she was cantankerous but with a good sense of humor. The tourist then asked Queen Elizabeth to take a photo of himself and Griffin.
Anyway, the next thing I knew this guy comes around put his arm around my shoulder, and before I could see what was happening, he gets his camera, gives it to the Queen, and says ‘Can you take a picture of the two of us?’ Anyway, we swapped places, and I took a picture of him with the Queen. We never let on, and we waved goodbye.
Queen Elizabeth further quipped that she wanted to be there when the tourist realized who she was.
Her majesty said to me ‘I’d love to be a fly in the wall when he shows the photographs to the friends in America and hopefully someone tells him who I am.’