The Queen Has a Very Distinct Look When She’s Annoyed with You

The silent reprimand can be “terrifying,” a senior adviser said.

Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Queen Elizabeth isn’t pleased with you, you’ll know it straightaway, says a royal biographer—Her Majesty has a distinct look that tells all.

In Robert Hardman’s upcoming biography Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II, a very senior adviser to the Queen said “there’s a withering look, and it looks you up and down, and it was terrifying when it first happened to me,” per PEOPLE.

“The look” starts with what some officials call “an eyebrow.” If you get both eyebrows, it’s a more extreme case of annoyance. And, if you get a firm “Are you sure?” the annoyance has really escalated.

“Another retired courtier still remembers the glacial stare after a mix-up over timings at a state banquet,” Hardman writes in the book, out April 5. (Worried about the courtier? Don’t be—after an uncomfortable 24 hours, all was resolved with an apology the next day.) “The silent reprimand can be triggered by incompetence or else by overfamiliarity.”

Even prime ministers aren’t immune to “the look”—former Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote in his memoirs “occasionally she can be matey with you, but don’t try to reciprocate, or you get ‘the look.’”

The Queen is cordial—even hilarious at times—but there are boundaries, Hardman said.

“Most know that there are two hazards to be avoided when meeting with the boss: ‘The line’ and ‘the look,’” Hardman writes. “You do not want to cross the former or receive the latter.”

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Weekend Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the weekend editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.