It’s sure to be nerve-wracking enough meeting a member of the royal family, but when you’re three years old, it’s likely to be an even scarier moment.
And this was certainly the case for much-loved comedian Dawn French, who, in her brand new stand-up show 30 Million Minutes, discussed her ‘terrifying’ meeting with the Queen Mother over 40 years ago.
Usually not one to shy away from meeting fellow celebrities and VIPs, Dawn admitted that, at the tender age of just three, meeting the former Queen of England was something that left her with “nightmares” for years after – and, in her own words, was “the most terrifying half an hour of my life”.
In her live show, Dawn debuted video footage from RAF archives of the late Queen Mother coming to her house to meet her family. Dawn’s father was in the RAF, and had invited the royal for tea, during a visit to the Leconfield base in Yorkshire in 1961.
So why was the experience so traumatic?
In the clip, fans witness the Queen Mother approaching Dawn and her family and extending her hand for a handshake.
But it seems the meeting was a little too much for three-year-old Dawn to handle. Live on the show, she said, “We commenced our well-practised bowing and curtseying.
“And what happened next was the stuff of my nightmares for years to come, because as I arose from my rather well executed curtsey, the Queen Mother smiled – and she had virtually black teeth.”
Hilariously, Dawn continued to joke, “Black teeth, like a witch. Believe me when you’re three years and nine months old, black teeth equals witch.”
She also revealed that in her three-year-old mind, she was horrified that the royal was going to be allowed into her house.
Dawn continued, “I couldn’t believe that a queen witch is coming into my house and nobody was doing anything to stop her”, she admitted, “I was utterly dumbstruck and refused to look at her or talk to her for the entire rest of the visit.”
“It was quite simply the most terrifying half hour of my life.”
But while this tongue-in-cheek annecdote may have made us chuckle, there have other hardship’s that Dawn’s had to face, of a much more serious nature. Dawn has previously revealed how, in her younger years, her family were often moving from house to house, in order to follow her dad’s RAF career.
Sadly, when Dawn was just 18, her father – who had a long battle with depression – ended his life.
Reflecting on that time in her life in a previous interview with The Telegraph, she’s said, “He’d lived his whole life with it but this was in a time when you didn’t say you had mental illness if you were the head of a family.
“I still have sadness about it … And I think it’s been a centre point of my life.”