Author reveals how the Queen saved the day when Charles De Gaulle’s wife accidentally said ‘penis’ during an official visit
- Her Majesty, 93, was hosting former French President and his wife in the 1960s
- The royal honoured their arrival with a lavish dinner at Buckingham Palace
- Language barrier caused Madame Yvonne to say ‘a penis’ rather than ‘happiness’
The Queen’s quick-witted sense of humour once saved her from a potentially awkward situation with an important guest, a royal author revealed.
According to Adam Helliker, Her Majesty, 93, was hosting Charles de Gaulle – the former French president – and his wife Madame Yvonne De Gaulle at Buckingham Palace back in April 1960 when the cheeky quip was made.
‘A guest asked Madame de Gaulle what she was most looking forward to in her retirement, which was imminent,’ he said, speaking to Fabulous Digital.
‘With great elaboration (as she didn’t speak much English) she replied: ‘A penis.’
‘An awkward silence ensued for some time, until the Queen herself came to the rescue, and she said with a broad grin: “Ah, happiness.”‘
The Queen (pictured) saved Charles de Gaulle’s wife Madame Yvonne from a potentially awkward situation in the 1960s. Pictured, Her Majesty during a visit to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) Park Farm in Cambridge on July 9, 2019
Queen Elizabeth II, President Charles de Gaulle of France, the Duke of Edinburgh and Madame de Gaulle at Buckingham Palace, London in the 1960s
The Queen turned the tricky slip up into a comical anecdote when the former French President visited London on April 4 and 5.
Her Majesty was throwing a lavish state banquet at Buckingham Palace in honour of the guest’s arrival.
And it can only be assumed the language barriers are to thank for revealing the monarch’s cheeky sense of humour – and for providing Prince Philip, 98, with what is reported to be one of his favourite stories.
The Queen has previously been pictured in the midst of laughter at various royal engagements.
Queen Elizabeth with French President General Charles De Gaulle as they arrive at Covent Garden Opera House for a gala conference in April 1960
Getting on famously! The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex shared a joke on their first royal engagement together on June 14, 2018 when they watched a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge
On June 18 2018, the royal looked in high spirits with Meghan Markle, 38, when they carried out their first official engagements together in Cheshire.
They seemed to get on famously, with Meghan giggling and whispering into the Queen’s ear while watching a children’s performance at the opening of a bridge across the River Mersey in Widnes.
And the monarch also had a grin on her face when her granddaughter Zara’s husband Mike Tindall performed a magic trick at Royal Ascot on June 19.
The former rugby player removed his top hat to reveal a miniature replica tucked inside, before revealing it was made of chocolate and was a gift he was taking home for his five-year-old daughter, Mia.
He performed his entertaining routine to the amusement of Sophie Wessex and Princess Beatrice – but when asked whether the Queen found the magic trick funny, he replied: ‘They are your words, not mine!’
When the Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on 20 November 2017, royal biographer Ingrid Seward appeared on Loose Women.
‘I think the secret is they laugh together. I think the Queen is the comedian,’ she said.
‘She’s a wonderful mimic. She can do the Liverpool accent, she does Irish – she’s very good at American as well.’