Friday, 1 June 2012
In another boost to the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations, it has been revealed that in private the monarch has the most marvellous sense of humour.
Never-before-heard statements (apart from those made during the last anniversary) from such luminaries as wide ranging as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Cliff Richard and John Inverdale, have paid tribute to her 'quick wit' and 'fantastic sense of fun.'
Archbishop Rowan Williams said he was often witness to what he described as 'the hidden side of The Queen' - away from the confines of her Royal duties; "She is a wonderfully funny woman, who often entertains her private guests with a seemingly never ending series of uproarious anecdotes. Anyone who was lucky enough to meet her would almost always be in absolute stitches. Such was her sense of fun and bonhomie that Archbishop of York John Sentamu and I would often roll around the floor laughing like drains!"
Sir Cliff Richard revealed that Her Majesty was behind the satire boom of the 1960's - gently prompting Peter Cook to set up Private Eye, 'You are a very funny man, Mr Cook - you should set up a magazine and invent satire,' she is believed to have told him - before suggesting the funny speech bubble cover, and quietly submitting sketches to be used by him and his partner Dudley Moore on their TV show.
Later on that day she arranged for the two strands of Oxbridge comedians that became the Monty Python team to meet up at a Royal Variety Show.
"However, the 1970's was much quieter for our Queen," continued Sir Cliff, "As she knuckled down to concentrating on her duties - submitting anonymous sketches to the Two Ronnies Shows (everyone thought it was Ronnie Barker, but I was privy to the real story) before helping Eddie Braben out with the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Specials."
Things slowed down in the eighties, and The Queen restricted herself to the occasional Young Ones series and helping Richard Curtis to write Blackadder, before another foray into the publishing world as a rather surprising silent partner behind the bawdy Viz magazine. In the early nineties, at a post Royal Variety Show line-up, she openly mused with Steve Coogan on whether he should 'move away' from doing bland impressions and join with an upcoming spoof news star she was working with, Chris Morris.
John Inverdale added; "Nothing surprises me with The Queen, she was always dignified in her manner when anonymously writing sketches and scripts and helping British comedy to become the best in the world - whether it be That Was The Week That Was, The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin, Spitting Image, Brass Eye or The Inbetweeners."