Memories of Balmoral and the Queen's wry sense of humour
Published on 12 September 2022 2 minutes read
A Royal Chaplain has provided a fresh insight into Her Majesty the Queen's legendary sense of humour.
Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood OBE's memories of a visit to Balmoral provide a fascinating glimpse into the late sovereign's family life.
The retired minister, who served Renfew North Parish Church for 37-years until she retired in 2016, was Moderator of the General Assembly 2013-14.
Sharing her memories of Her Majesty, the Chapel Royal member said: "On my first visit to Balmoral some younger members of the extended family were visiting and were seated next to the Queen for lunch.
"One of them had recently accompanied her at one of the ceremonial events and he began to regale his experiences informing us how disappointed he was that his sword was ‘just pretend'.
"The Queen immediately stopped eating and feigned surprise.
"'But how could you protect me?', she asked.
"He hadn't thought of that and for a few seconds was quite concerned then burst out laughing with the Queen and the rest of the table.
"What I did witness on that occasion was a close-knit family unit, all very relaxed in her presence.
"Yes, there were the formal bows and courtesies but after that a genuine closeness and it was a pleasure to witness it.
"That visit was after a recent trip the royal family had taken to the Western Isles.
"After dinner she sat down with the photo album showing the other family members who were present the photos from the trip.
"Unsure what to do, I thought I would just chat to the Lady in Waiting, but the Queen beckoned me to sit beside her, and she shared her holiday snaps with me. What a privilege.
"It was well known that very often one of the evenings would be spent on the estate at one of the cottages for a BBQ, cooked by Prince Philip and you were driven by the Queen.
"It's a dark winding road and the Queen doesn't saunter.
"On my second visit she had just taken possession of a new car and was most concerned with the new electronics especially the sat nav.
"As she attempted to switch it off while keeping an eye on the road, I asked if I could help.
"'Yes, I think you'd better – we don't want to have the Moderator in a ditch". Too true.
"Often the visit to Balmoral coincides with the annual Guild event attended by members from all over Scotland.
"As one of the guest speakers I spoke about a recent presbytery visit and the blatant prejudice I had experienced.
"Needless to say, it was reported in some Sunday newspapers.
"Arriving back after Church, the newspapers were laid out and the Queen was flicking through them as I approached.
"'Making the ‘Sundays', I see Moderator', she said as she turned away with that twinkle in her eye and little smile.
"In a discussion later, she offered her concern and support."