The Queen Once "Hid In A Bush" To Avoid Encountering Controversial Dictator At Buckingham Palace
Queen Elizabeth II and the British public were quite displeased with the visit of a controversial dictator in the 1970s. Learn how the situation escalated to the point of Her Majesty ducking away in the Buckingham Palace gardens...
Queen Elizabeth II is ever-considerate of her duties as the monarch and the perception of her public appearances.
But it seems she permitted herself a private departure from royal custom while in the company of a notorious political figure in the 1970s.
This story came out in an ITV documentary titled Our Queen: Inside the Crown that aired on Thursday night. The film recalls when Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, made a four-day state visit to Buckingham Palace in 1978.
According to People, the documentary reported that the communist dictator was invited by the British government, so the Queen had no choice but to accommodate the leader — whom the British press had described as a "monster" at the time.
Queen Elizabeth II managed public appearances with Ceausescu
But the Queen and Prince Philip upheld their duties, meeting the Ceausescus upon their arrival at Victoria train station. They were photographed together and rode back to Buckingham Palace in a carriage.
However, relations weren't so friendly once on the grounds of Buckingham Palace. In Our Queen, filmmaker Robert Hardman revealed the out of character story about the Queen's conduct away from the cameras.
"On the occasion when they were staying, she took the corgis out for a walk in the palace gardens and she could see the Ceausescus coming the other way," Hardman said.
"She thought, 'I really can't face talking to them,' so the first and only time in her life, she actually hid in a bush in the palace gardens to avoid her guests."
The Queen, it would appear, sought refuge in the greenery of the spacious palace gardens, a common site for royal garden parties.
New film about Queen Elizabeth II reveals her feelings on state visits
In the documentary, former British Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen went on to say: "The Queen puts up with many different people, but Ceausescu was too much for her. She made it quite plain she didn't like that visit!"
A similar visit by the controversial President Mobutu of Zaire in 1973 was acknowledged as another "low point" among state visits. "The Queen was very unhappy about that," Hardman revealed in the film.
The Queen's conduct may surprise some... but it appears her sly manoeuvre was a success. It's reportedly unknown if the Ceausescus saw her that day at Buckingham Palace, but there's no evidence to suggest that they did.