After Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, a story about the queen pranking a pair of American hikers circulated on Twitter. Former Royal protection officer Richard Griffin told the story in a video tweeted by Sky News in June.
According to Griffin, he accompanied the queen on a picnic near Balmoral Castle, a large Scottish estate house belonging to the British royal family. While there, Griffin and Elizabeth encountered two American tourists who did not recognize the British royal.
“Normally, on these picnic sights, you meet nobody, but there were two hikers coming towards us, and the queen would always stop and say hello. It was two Americans on a walking holiday. It was clear from the moment we first stopped, they hadn’t recognized the queen, which is fine,” Griffin said. “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.”
“And I could see it coming, and sure enough, he said to her majesty, ‘And where do you live?’” Griffin added with a smile.
Griffin said the queen told the Americans that she lived in London but had a “holiday home just on the other side of the hills,” referring to Balmoral Castle.
The American then asked the queen how long she had been visiting the area, to which she responded “Oh, I’ve been coming up here ever since I was a little girl, so over 80 years.”
“Well, if you’ve been coming up here for 80 years, you must’ve met the queen,” the American added, according to Griffin.
“And as quick as a flash, [Elizabeth II] says, ‘Well, I haven’t, but Dick here meets her regularly.’ So the guy said to me, ‘Oh, you’ve met the queen?’ What’s she like?’ And because I was with her a long time and I knew I could pull a leg, I said, ‘Oh, she can be very cantankerous at times, but she’s got a lovely sense of humor,’” Griffin continued.
“The next thing I knew, this guy comes around, puts 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?’” Griffin said.
The group eventually swapped places and Griffin took a photo of the hikers with Queen Elizabeth II, but neither Griffin nor the queen ever revealed her identity.
“We waved goodbye and then her majesty said to me, ‘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,’” Griffin concluded.