The Queen Once Hid in a Bush with Her Corgis to Avoid a Controversial Guest at Buckingham Palace

13th june 1978  romanian dictator nicolae ceausescu rides in the state carriage with queen elizabeth ii on his official visit to britain  photo by central pressgetty images
Central PressGetty Images
  • As part of her duties as monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is expected to play host to foreign leaders invited to the United Kingdom by the British Government.
    • When Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu visited London for four days with his wife Elena in 1978, the Queen struggled to maintain her composure.

        Queen Elizabeth has a long reputation of putting duty and country above, well, just about everything (seriously—watch The Crown if you weren't aware). As monarch, she's expected to play host to world leaders the British Government invites to visit the country.

        Over the years, the British Government has invited some less-than-ideal houseguests who the Queen was then expected to entertain, including Vladimir Putin, Syrian leader Bashar-Al-Assad, and Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe.

        But, according to a new ITV documentary Our Queen: Inside the Crown, which aired in the U.K. on Thursday, there was one visitor so detestable that even the Queen couldn't help but let a not-so-royal moment slip. The guy who earned the title of Queen Elizabeth's Least Favorite Buckingham Palace Guest Ever? Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, who visited London for four days with his wife Elena in 1978.

        "The press started to question the foreign secretary," Robert Hardman explained in the new documentary. Apparently, people were so upset about the visit, the media went so far as to ask, "Why are we inviting this monster to come to Britain?"

        Even though the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, went along with their royal duties for the trip and even greeted the Ceaușescus on their arrival at London's Victoria train station, the monarch apparently couldn't stand the idea of talking to the Romanian dictator any more than she absolutely had to. She even resorted to her least-regal moment of all time to avoid extra chit-chat with him at Buckingham Palace.

        "On the occasion when they were staying she took the corgis out for a walk in the palace gardens and she could see the Ceaușescus coming the other way," Hardman explained. "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."

        It's not clear if Ceaușescu or his wife caught the Queen's blatant smalltalk dodge, but it's officially on the list of the most badass things she's ever done in my book.


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