Former premier John Major tells Channel 4 News he is “totally confident” of the British monarchy’s future. Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the Queen’s “wicked” sense of humour.
Ahead of this weekend’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, John Major told Channel 4 News the hereditary principle is something “wholly proper and thoroughly desirable”.
The former prime minister said he was “totally confident” of the monarchy’s future. “It is an integral part of British life,” Mr Major told Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
And he said the idea of an elected head of state did not fit in with “the British spirit, the British instinct and British history”.
Earlier in the day, the Archbishop of Canterbury hailed the Queen’s sense of humour and “real personality”. In a video to mark the Diamond Jubilee, Dr Rowan Williams has reflected fondly on his one-on-one meetings with the 85-year-old monarch.
He said he had no contact with any royalty before taking up the post and was not sure what to expect. “I found in the Queen someone who can be friendly, who can be informal, who can be extremely funny in private – and not everybody appreciates just how funny she can be.”
The archbishop said she is someone “who is quite prepared to tease and to be teased” while managing to retain her dignity.
I found in the Queen someone who can be friendly, who can be informal, who can be extremely funny in private – and not everybody appreciates just how funny she can be. Archbishop Rowan Williams
“I think we’ve been enormously fortunate in this country to have, as our head of state, a person who has a real personality.”
The archbishop is not the only one to notice the Queen’s sense of fun. Fashion photographer Rankin – who shot the iconic 2002 portrait of the Queen juxtaposed with the Union Jack – also commended her playful spirit during the shoot.
“She has a dry sense of humor. Something fell off my camera, and the queen laughed and said, ‘You’ve dropped something.’ I wanted to capture that, so I went all Austin Powers – I was like, ‘Ma’am, could you smile, please, ma’am, please?’
“She smiled and the iconic photo was made.”
The Queen’s British wit was also captured during some light-hearted remarks to Kate Middleton as they viewed the exhibition of Kate’s wedding dress on a headless mannequin.
“Horrid, isn’t it? Horrid and dreadful,” The Queen said to her new granddaughter.
Later, while touring the palace state rooms, the Queen joked, “You’ve seen this already, so you don’t really want to see it again, do you?”
But not everyone has taken to the Queen’s sense of humour quite so well.
Renowned American photographer Annie Leibovitz described her as “cranky” after the monarch refused to take off her tiara during a shoot in 2007.
“I asked the Queen if she would remove the tiara, suggesting that a less dressy look might be better.
“And she said, ‘Less dressy! What do you think this is?’
“I thought she was being funny. English humour. But I noticed that the dresser and everyone else who had been working with her were staying about 20 feet away from her.”