Over the years, the Queen has proven she has a wonderful sense of humour, full of wry, quick-witted jokes, some of which we got the chance to see and hear during last year’s The Coronation, a documentary about the 1953 event at Westminster Abbey. Now, Her Majesty’s dressmaker, Angela Kelly, has revealed another side of the Queen’s quick wit with a story about how the monarch reacted to a pretty wicked April Fools joke.
In Angela’s new book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe , she wrote about a prank she played on the Queen in 2006, while Her Majesty was an a visit to Sydney, Australia. Excerpts from the book are being serialized in the new issue of HELLO! Canada, available on Oct. 31 at newsstands across the country and on tablet and iPhone through Apple News.
Angela bought a stuffed kookaburra while they were in Sydney and decided to trick the Queen into thinking it was alive.
“Back at the Governor’s House, I went up to her room to find the perfect perch,” she wrote. “I placed it on the balcony in a little cage. I waited for her to return and when she came in, I said, ‘Your Majesty, there’s a funny-looking grey bird on your balcony.’”
Kookaburras are famous throughout Australia for their unique “laughing” call.
“The Queen looked outside and shouted, ‘It’s a kookaburra!’ I went to open the cage doors and she said loudly, ‘No! Don’t do that! It will fly away!’ and was behind me in a flash. Turning to Her Majesty while trying to keep a straight face, I solemnly told her it was dead. She looked horrified as I walked towards her with outstretched arms and as she took the bird from my hands, she realized I had been winding her up.”
Angela wrote that the monarch looked at her and said, “You’re sacked!”
“I was laughing uncontrollably as Her Majesty turned to His Royal Highness [ Prince Philip] and said, ‘Do you know what she has just done to me? Angela has had me!’ and I just couldn’t stop giggling,” Angela continued.
Her Majesty took the joke very well – so well, it seems, that Angela wrote the kookaburra remains on a sofa in a sitting room at Windsor Castle, where we hope the Queen has used it to play similar jokes on her guests!
“I laugh to myself every time I see it,” Angela wrote.
To read more excerpts from Angela’s new book, pick up Issue 686 of HELLO! Canada, available at newsstands and on tablets and iPhones through Apple News on Oct. 31!