16 of the Most Unexpectedly Funny Things Queen Elizabeth II Ever Said

Queen Elizabeth II has died at age 96, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Sept. 8. Elizabeth was the longest-reigning British monarch, ruling for over seven decades, and she made some pretty badass moves during that time. She spearheaded a history-making trip to Ghana, ordered divorces, and even critiqued episodes of "Downton Abbey" for historical accuracy.

Because of her serious veneer and commanding presence, we often forgot just how funny the queen actually was. One example? During an interview reflecting on her coronation, Elizabeth manhandled the hell out of the Imperial State Crown, poking and prodding it while saying, "It's very solid, isn't it?" The humorous moment put the queen in a relatable light (as does her horse riding, car driving, and binge-drinking), but there are even more quotes from the queen that show off her biting sense of humor. In her book "The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II," Karen Dolby compiled the monarch's best one-liners — and we've highlighted 16 of them in her honor.


  1. During a diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace, then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher felt faint and was forced to sit down for the second year in a row. Elizabeth said to a nearby guest, "Oh, look! She's keeled over again."
  2. Princess Margaret was talking to her cousin's husband Denys, a thriller writer, and asked him how his latest book was coming along. Elizabeth entered the room as he responded, "I desperately need a title." She quipped, "I cannot think of a reason for giving you one."
  3. After hearing the Everly Brothers perform "Cathy's Clown" in the '60s, the queen turned to her lady-in-waiting: "They sound like two cats being strangled."
  4. Elizabeth met guitar legend Eric Clapton at a Buckingham Palace reception in 2005 and asked him, "Have you been playing a long time?"

  1. On why she wears bright colors on royal appearances: "If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am."
  2. When opening an exhibition of artist Lucian Freud's nude paintings, the queen told her aide she had been very careful to make sure she "was not photographed between a pair of those great thighs."
  3. During that same trip, a curator asked the queen if she had ever been painted by Lucian Freud. She smiled and said, "Yes, but not like that."
  4. At an investiture ceremony, a member of the queen's staff dropped the cushion holding the medals. "Just put them back any way you can. I'll give them anything and you can sort it out afterward," she said.

  1. Elizabeth was going incognito during a walk in Scotland when a local resident commented that she "looked just like the queen." "How reassuring," she replied.
  2. During a state visit, when an escort commander was blocking the crowd's view of the royal carriage: "Actually, Captain, I think it's me they've come to see."
  3. Protesters threw eggs at the queen during a visit to New Zealand, after which she quipped, "I myself prefer my New Zealand eggs for breakfast."
  4. When asked her thoughts on Niagara Falls while visiting Canada, she remarked, "It looks very damp."
  5. James Bond actor Roger Moore's then-wife once asked the queen why she carried her purse around with her at Buckingham Palace. She replied, "This house is very big, you know."
Getty | Max Mumby/Indigo

  1. When the controversial Princess Michael of Kent said in an interview that the queen's Corgis "should be shot," Elizabeth reportedly said, "They're better behaved than she is!"
  2. After a concrete brick fell onto the Queen's car during a visit to Belfast, Elizabeth shrugged and said, "It's a strong car."
  3. Any time Elizabeth was encouraged to hide behind more layers of security, she quipped, "I have to be seen to be believed."