32 candid photos of Queen Elizabeth II that showcase the late monarch's less serious side

The late Queen had lots of serious duties, but she was never afraid to show her funnier, more light-hearted side

a composite image of Queen Elizabeth having fun, with the first image showing Queen Elizabeth laughing with Charles, the second showing the Queen smiling in her car, and the third showing the Queen laughing with Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II was a famously formal lady, thanks to her important royal role – but that doesn’t mean she didn’t also have a great sense of humour.

While the late monarch spent much of her time taking part in state duties or paying a visit to charities or organisations doing important work, she was also well known to have a more fun side and was famous for her deadpan sense of humour. Though she didn't often share her less serious side, there were a fair few times across her 70-year reign when she would allow the world to see her more relaxed and cheeky side, either during public moments such as walkabouts or royal trips abroad, or in moments spent alongside her family.

To give an insight into the Queen’s less serious side, here is a selection of brilliantly candid photos of the late monarch and the stories behind said photos.

32 candid pictures of Queen Elizabeth II that show her less serious side

A photoshoot with her beloved corgis

Queen Elizabeth II smiles radiantly during a picture-taking session in the salon at Sandringham House. Her pet dog looks up at her. These photos were taken in connection with the royal Family's planned tour of Australia and New Zealand.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Taken in 1970, this sweet picture of Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle expertly showcases her more relaxed side, which is something we didn't often get to see during her time as monarch, especially during an official photograph.

Though the Queen was having an official portrait taken, she is seen here in a moment of pure glee, smiling at the camera as one of her beloved corgis looks up at her. It's perhaps one of the most relaxed official photos of the Queen ever taken!

Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait by Gyles Brandreth | £16.09 at Amazon 

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This Sunday Times bestseller offers insights into the extraordinary life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth. Reflecting upon her childhood to her later years, Gyles Brandreth met the late monarch multiple times throughout her reign, making this account all the more personal.

Perplexed at an event with Kate Middleton

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II watch part of a children's sports event while visiting Vernon Park during a Diamond Jubilee visit to Nottingham on June 13, 2012 in Nottingham, England.

(Image credit: Phil Noble - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

During a visit to Vernon Park in Nottingham in 2012, the late Queen was seen giggling and holding her hands out in confusion, sharing her less serious side with the world, and with her granddaughter-in-law Kate Middleton.

It's not clear what the monarch looked so perplexed and amused by at the children's sporting event she and Catherine were attending, but it's clear that whatever she'd just said had made both herself and the Princess of Wales laugh! 

Proud of Prince Harry

Queen Elizabeth II as proud grandmother smiles at Prince Harry as she inspects soldiers at their passing-out Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst Military Academy on April 12, 2006 in Surrey, England.

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

While the Queen was often tasked with plenty of important day-to-day duties that she took very seriously, she was also often seen taking her chance to have a little bit of fun every now and then – especially if she was on said duty with a member of her family.

The monarch made an all-important visit to Prince Harry's passing-out Parade at Sandhurst Military Academy in 2006, which was the culmination of Harry's military training. And as she inspected the line of soldiers – typically an important and serious moment – she couldn't help but stop and grin at her grandson in pride, with him sharing a coy smile back. So adorable! A truly sweet candid moment that reveals Harry's playful side, too.

Cutting a cake with a sword

Queen Elizabeth II considers cutting a cake with a sword, lent to her by The Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Edward Bolitho

(Image credit: OLI SCARFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

During a visit to The Eden Project in 2021 with Catherine and Camilla, the Queen was tasked with one very typical royal duty – a cake cutting – to mark the launch of 'The Big Lunch' initiative. 

To cut the large cake, the Queen was handed an amusingly large ceremonial sword, in a funny moment that both Camilla and Catherine giggled about.

When she looked a little troubled about whether it was possible to cut the cake with a sword, a nearby member of staff explained that there was a normal knife available, to which the Queen showed off her brilliant sense of humour by saying, "I know there is! This is something that is more unusual," prompting ripples of laughter across the room.

She did her very best to cut the cake using the sword, before admitting defeat and roping in her daughter-in-law to help her finish the job.

Laughing with Charles

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales laugh as they watch competitors during the Braemar Gathering

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The typically serious and stern-faced Queen Elizabeth II was rarely seen bursting into serious fits of giggles during her 70-year reign, but that's exactly what she did when she attended the Braemar Gathering at the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in 2006, in Scotland.

Both she and her eldest son Charles were in the front row watching competitors at the games when they burst into peals of laughter (why we sadly don't know!) It's one of the few public photos that exist of the Queen and her son sharing a candid moment of pure joy, and certainly one of the best ones to showcase her less serious, and more fun, side. 

Seeing cows on her birthday

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

It may not appear that this photo is showcasing the Queen's less serious side, but what happened after is one of the most famous moments of the Queen displaying her fun – and even childlike – side!

At the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2016, on her 90th birthday, the Queen sat alongside various members of her family as she watched a procession of animals arrive in front of her. While she was pretty stern-faced for most of the event, she instantly lit up when a herd of cows entered the arena, and was recorded on video looking shocked, and saying out loud, "Cows!" 

Feeding an elephant

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh feed bananas to Donna, a 7 year old Asian Elephant, as they open the new Centre for Elephant Care at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

In 2017, Prince Philip and the Queen visited the newly-opened Centre for Elephant Care at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, where they came face to face with an actual elephant, much to their apparent delight.

During the visit, the adorable baby elephant took a clear liking to the monarch, and she showed her more light-hearted and affectionate side as she fed the adorable animal a banana whilst Prince Philip looked on. This candid photograph makes it clear that the late Queen absolutely wasn't afraid to be a little silly when the occasion called for it!

Laughing with a friend

Queen Elizabeth II (r) watches her horse 'Balmoral Angel' compete in the Highland Class on day 3 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 12, 2017 in Windsor, England.

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth appeared to be having a bit of a giggle whilst watching her horse 'Balmoral Angel' compete in the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2017, making a funny hand gesture to a nearby friend, who appeared pretty shocked by whatever story the monarch was telling!

It was rare that we ever got to see the Queen sharing much relaxed time with friends, so this image is a brilliant illustration of her letting her hair down a little, during an event she had such passion for.

Making President Reagan laugh

President Reagan laughs following a joke by Queen Elizabeth II, who commented on the lousy California weather she has experienced since her arrival to the States. The British Queen is delivering a brief address during a state dinner held at the De Young Museum in San Francisco.

(Image credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth delivered a speech which left the crowd in stitches during her 1983 visit to the United States, during a dinner at the De Young Museum in San Francisco held by President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy. 

After some unusually bad weather in Southern California during the trip, it's reported that the monarch joked about bringing the bad weather over from the UK to her visit to the States. As the photo proves, the comment was delivered in the Queen's typical deadpan way, much to the delighted laughter of the President!

Grimacing at Charles

Queen Elizabeth II makes a funny face as Prince Charles holds a trophy above her head following a polo match at Windsor Great Park on July 01, 1984 in Windsor, England.

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

The story behind this hilarious image of Queen Elizabeth II and her son Charles sadly isn't public knowledge, but we simply had to include it in this round-up, as it brilliantly demonstrates the Queen's well-known sense of humour despite her usually very formal public persona.

The Queen is seen presenting a trophy to her son following a polo match at Windsor Great Park and is seen grimacing as he jokingly lifts the (heavy!) trophy above her head. What a great expression!

Disappointed at the races

The Queen Mother Prince Charles And The Queen At The Derby. With Them Are The Queen's Racing Manager Earl Of Carnarvon (formerly Lord Porchester) At Left In Dark Morning Suit And Sir Michael Oswald Manager Of The Royal Stud And Queen Mother's Racing Manager(right,behind Queens Hand)

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

At the Epsom Derby in 1999, the Queen very accurately displayed her enthusiasm for horse racing in a hilarious display, while watching her horse run in a race alongside many of her friends and family. 

Watching the proceedings from the royal circle, she let her guard down a little, letting her true emotions about the race be known. While those around her – including then-then Prince Charles, the Queen Mother, and her dear friend, the Earl Of Carnarvon (formerly known as Lord Porchester) – appear to be laughing uproariously, the Queen doesn't appear to be as amused! 

Smiling at Prince William

Queen Elizabeth II and William

(Image credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Image)

An interesting fact about Prince William: before becoming a full-time royal, Prince William undertook a pilot training course alongside the Royal Air Force at the Royal Military Academy in Surrey. And during the Sovereign's Parade at the academy before his training, Queen Elizabeth showed her caring (and less serious) side when she spied her grandson in the line-up.

She took a moment to acknowledge William, and the pair exchanged a sweet and knowing smile. In fact, William seemed almost unable to hold in his giggles, resulting in one of the sweetest moments ever captured in an image between the Queen and her grandson.

Drinking a cup of tea

Queen Elizabeth II Drinking A Cup Of Tea And Joking With England Rugby Star, Jonny Wilkinson, And His Girlfriend, Diana Stewart, At A Reception For The World Cup Winning Team In The Picture Gallery At Buckingham Palace.

(Image credit: Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II was arguably one of the most formal women in the world, which means she was rarely seen eating or drinking in public. 

As such, it's pretty amazing to see the late monarch here enjoying a cup of tea and a relaxed chat with former England rugby player Jonny Wilkinson and his girlfriend, Diana Stewart.

The trio were enjoying a formal reception for the England rugby team after they won the World Cup, at Buckingham Palace. And the Queen clearly felt relaxed enough to enjoy a drink whilst meeting players, something she rarely did when hosting more formal receptions.

Dancing with Prince Philip

The Duke of Edinburgh dances with his wife, Princess Elizabeth, at a square dance held in their honour in Ottawa, by Governor General Viscount Alexander, 17th October 1951. The dance was one of the events arranged during their Canadian tour.

(Image credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Before Queen Elizabeth actually became Queen, she and her husband Prince Philip headed off on tour of Canada, in 1951.

During this tour, both the-then Princess Elizabeth and her husband expertly showcased their less serious sides when they got well and truly stuck in at a square dance held in their honour in Ottawa, by Governor General Viscount Alexander. 

Not only did the young royal couple get involved in the dancing, but they also opted to don traditional Canadian clothing too – showing that just because they are royal, it didn't mean that they can't also enjoy an evening of dancing.

According to one attendee at the event, the pair were natural dancers, too. Per The Telegraph, they explained that Philip and Elizabeth "caught on very quickly due in part to the pair's knowledge of Highland Dancing."

'Jumping out of a plane' with James Bond

Performers depicting Queen Elizabeth and James Bond parachute from a helicopter during the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics on Friday, July 27, 2012

(Image credit: Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)

This image isn't technically of the Queen, but the monarch's involvement in this iconic skit for the London Olympics 2012 expertly proved that the late Queen was willing to poke fun at herself a little bit. 

Queen Elizabeth joined James Bond star Daniel Craig for a filmed skit for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. The monarch and Daniel filmed a skit within Buckingham Palace – with Mr Craig dressed up as his iconic James Bond character –which saw the two of them heading together to the Opening Ceremony.

After walking through the palace, both of the British icons got into a helicopter, before 'the Queen' was seen jumping from said helicopter into the Olympic Stadium! Of course, the Queen herself didn't jump from the helicopter, instead hiring a body double – but her participation in the entire thing proved that she never took herself too seriously.

Cracking a joke at the G7 summit

Queen Elizabeth at the G7 Summit

(Image credit: Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

In 2021, Queen Elizabeth attended the G7 Summit in Cornwall, alongside many other various world leaders, including former Prime Minister of the UK Boris Johnson, Canadian President Justin Trudeau, President of France Emmanuel Macron, and former German Chanellor Angela Merkel.

She expertly showed off her dry sense of humour as the group posed for a photo, when, after a few minutes of silence, she asked, "Are you supposed to be looking as if you're enjoying yourself?"

The Queen's hilarious quip was reportedly with lots of laughter from the group assembled, with a bumbling Boris Johnson responding that he hoped people had been enjoying themselves at the event.

Laughing with Prince Harry

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry share a joke as they watch Prince Charles and his bride Camilla Duchess of Cornwall leave St George's Chapel in Windsor following their marriage blessing, 09 April 2005. Prince Charles and his longtime sweetheart Camilla Parker Bowles married today after two months of muddled preparations and a lifetime of waiting. (Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT / POOL / AFP)

(Image credit: ALASTAIR GRANT-/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The pair were known to have enjoyed a close relationship, and this was clear to see when Prince Harry and the late Queen shared a joke between just the two of them on Charles and Camilla's wedding day in April 2005.

In this image, a young Prince Harry is seen pulling a funny face, while his grandmother laughs along with him outside of St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, where Charles and Camilla had a religious blessing following their legal wedding ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall. 

It's not clear what the Queen and Harry were laughing about, but it's very clear that Harry certainly brought out his grandmother's cheekier side!

Driving herself

Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover car

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Though Queen Elizabeth spent a lifetime being chauffeured around the world, and even often travelled in splendid royal carriages, she regularly proved that she didn't take herself too seriously by driving herself to and from personal events in her beloved Range Rover as often as she could.

While the monarch was usually spotted driving her Range Rover around Windsor Great Park whilst spending time at her Windsor Castle home, she would also often drive her Land Rover Defender whilst spending time in the wilder climes of Scotland, when she was at her Balmoral Estate.

The Queen's fondness for driving herself when she could proves that she didn't always need the bells and whistles that came with being monarch. One interesting fact about her driving, however, was that she didn't need a license to do so as the Queen of England!

Looking after her great-grandsons

Queen Elizabeth With Prince William & Prince Henry At Polo

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

So much of the Queen's life was spent undertaking formal, official duties, but it's clear that the monarch was also keen to spend as much time as possible on her more informal duties as a grandmother.

In this adorable photo taken in 1987, when Princes William and Harry were just five and three respectively, the Queen is seen being a doting grandmother to her young grandsons, pointing out different things to them on the polo field ahead of them. 

It's a clear image of the Queen opting to set aside her royal duties for just a moment to be fully present in her role as grandmother.

Poking fun at Justin Trudeau

Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she attends a dinner at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

(Image credit: Toby Melville -Pool/Getty Images)

In 2015, Queen Elizabeth paid her final visit to Malta with her husband Prince Philip, a place the couple both held very dearly after having lived there for a few years from 1949 before she became Queen.

During the trip, the monarch opened the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which took place in the country that year. And at a dinner ahead of the event, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was newly elected at the time, introduced Her Majesty the Queen and pointed out that he was the 12th Canadian Prime Minister who had served during her 70-year reign as monarch.

In response, the Queen joked, "Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister of Canada, for making me feel so old!", a comment which was met with waves of laughter across the room.

On board a train

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret travel on the footplate of a steam engine which is towing the royal train across South Africa, February 1947. On the right is F. C. Sturrock, the South African Minister of Transport.

(Image credit: Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

We were so used to seeing the late Queen in formal clothing, elegantly meeting important foreign dignitaries and politicians at formal events. However, she also proved she wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty with less glamorous duties!

In particular, she displayed her willingness to get involved in every aspect of the job, when she donned a pair of mucky scrubs and stepped into the footplate of a steam engine towing the royal train during her and her family's royal trip to South Africa in 1947. 

She was joined by her sister Princess Margaret and the South African Minister of Transport as she inspected the train and its inner-working, proving that – despite being a Princess – she wasn't afraid to get stuck in.

At the Badminton Horse Trials

Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother sitting on the ground to watch the Badminton Horse Trials, 1956. On the Queen's other side is Mary, Countess of Harewood (1897 - 1965).

(Image credit: Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)

It was rare to ever see the Queen sat on the floor – typically, the monarch would enjoy a prime position at any event she attended. However, that's exactly what she did when she attended the Badminton Horse Trials in 1956, alongside the Queen Mother.

Despite recently being crowned Queen, she and her mother happily pitched up alongside the rest of the event's attendees on the bare ground as they watched the day's events go on. However, she and her mother did of course have a soft blanket to sit on; she was the Queen, after all.

Delighted at the races

Queen Elizabeth II watches her horse 'Sign Manual' run in and win the Dreweatts Handicap Stakes as she attends the Dubai Duty Free Raceday at Newbury Racecourse on April 19, 2013 in Newbury, England.

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

There was arguably nowhere the late Queen was happier than when she was attending the horse racing, and got to indulge in one of her biggest passions in life.

In fact, it was often when we saw her at her most joyful, and certainly when we most saw her showing off her less serious side.

This image brilliantly displays this fact, as the monarch is seen grinning from ear to ear whilst watching her horse 'Sign Manual' win the Dreweatts Handicap Stakes at Newbury Racecourse in 2013. It appears that here, Queen Elizabeth was truly letting her guard down and just having a brilliant time.

Joking with Meghan Markle

Queen Elizabeth II sits and laughs with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in the town of Widnes in Halton, Cheshire, England. Meghan Markle married Prince Harry last month to become The Duchess of Sussex and this is her first engagement with the Queen. During the visit the pair will open a road bridge in Widnes and visit The Storyhouse and Town Hall in Chester.

(Image credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth only ever ventured out on one official engagement together, when, around a month after Meghan's wedding to Prince Harry, they visited Chester for a series of engagements.

And a couple of candid photos snapped on the day show that the Queen and her granddaughter-in-law enjoyed a fun and close relationship, as the monarch (and Meghan) were seen having a great time chatting and laughing during one engagement on the day. In fact, it even looked as though Her Majesty was the one telling the joke!

Meeting a dog

Queen Elizabeth II meets local visually impaired residents and their blind dogs during a walkabout in the Market Square on March 31, 2006 in Staffordshire, England.

(Image credit: Tim Graham/ Getty Images)

Though she was a formal and even somewhat reserved lady, the Queen displayed some of her most tender and sensitive moments when she was meeting animals, and dogs in particular – which she famously loved.

In this moment during a walkabout in Staffordshire in 2006, Queen Elizabeth II was seen meeting local people who are visually impaired, and their guide dogs. At one point, she looked visibly thrilled about being able to pet one of the dogs – who also looked pretty happy to be able to get a stroke from the Queen herself!

Making William cringe

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge watch a carnival parade as they attend 'The Patron's Lunch' celebrations to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday on The Mall on June 12, 2016 in London, England.

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen was known to be especially close to Prince William, perhaps because he was soon to be following in her footsteps as monarch. 

But while the pair clearly had an important official relationship, this image proves that the Queen was also happy to share her less serious side with one of her oldest grandchildren.

Here, she had clearly made William giggle, as he is seen placing his palm to his face in what almost looks like an awkward yet funny moment. This image was taken as the pair watched a parade on the Mall, put on to celebrate the monarch's 90th birthday in 2016. 

We don't know what the Queen and William were laughing and smiling at, but it's obvious that the monarch was enjoying spending time with her grandson.

Making at joke at President Bush's error

President George W Bush joins Queen Elizabeth II in a toast during a State Dinner at the White House on the fifth day of her USA tour on May 7, 2007 in Washington, DC.

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Queen was never afraid to poke fun at all of the various world leaders she met during her 70-year reign, expertly showing off her less serious side to them no matter the circumstances. 

And, during a trip to the United States in March 2007, she did just that during a dinner with President George Bush. 

Before the dinner, the President had welcomed the Queen with a speech on the lawn of The White House. During said speech, he referenced the fact that the Queen helped to celebrate the US bicentennial, but unfortunately tripped over his words and stated that this took place in 1776, rather than 1976. 

After realising his mistake, he looked over at the Queen before telling the crowd, "She just gave me a look that only a mother could give a child." During a dinner later on in the trip, the Queen couldn't let the moment go unnoticed, poking fun at the President's error by saying in her speech, "I wondered whether I should start this toast by saying, 'When I was here in 1776...'"

The moment prompted lots of laughter, with President Bush confessing that she'd won the room with her quip, admitting "Your Majesty, I can't top that one."

Annoyed at the races

Queen Elizabeth II watches the racing as she attends 'Derby Day' of the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Racecourse on June 1, 2019 in Epsom, England.

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Though the Queen was often very strict with showing her true emotions in public, preferring instead to keep a dignified and neutral expression on her face almost at all times, she couldn't help but let her emotions out whilst attending the Epsom Derby in 2019.

On 'Derby Day', the monarch was seen shouting and looking frustrated as she watched on whilst the horses raced. It's not clear why exactly the Queen was feeling this way, but it was certainly a rare moment when we got to see the Queen's less serious (and more competitive!) side come out.

Laughing with Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

(Image credit: Leon Neal-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen and Prince Philip are both seen bursting into laughter here in a lovely candid moment, captured as they were saying goodbye to former Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina.

In 2014, the Irish couple visited the couple at Windsor Castle, one of the Queen and Philip's most loved homes, on the very first state visit from an Irish president since the republic gained independence from Britain.

Three years prior, the Queen herself became the first monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland on a landmark visit. And from this picture, it's clear that the two world leaders got on very well!

Walking through mud

The Queen Walking Through The Mud To Present Prizes At The Windsor Horse Show.

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth might have been royalty, but she was certainly never worried about a little bit of mud, as this picture clearly shows.

The monarch was forced to walk through a seriously deep and wet patch of mud as she attended the Windsor Horse Show in 1978, presenting prizes to the winners of the day.

She appeared to easily brush the inconvenience off, however, simply donning an umbrella (which she held herself) and her tallest welly boots to complete her official duties.

Relaxed on a royal tour

The Queen Talking With The Emir Of Bahrain (amir) During Horse Racing And Camel Racing In Bahrain in 1979

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

This candid image of Queen Elizabeth II was taken on a royal tour of Bahrain in 1979 and clearly shows a relaxed Queen lounging on a chair, engaged in a deep conversation – which wasn't something we saw too often when the monarch was on official trips abroad.

The Queen was happily chatting to the Emir Of Bahrain during a day of horse racing and camel racing. The day formed part of the monarch's longer tour of the Gulf, which also saw her and Prince Philip visit Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. 

Playing tag

While on board the HMS Vanguard, Crown Princess Elizabeth plays tag with midshipmen.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Though the image is a little blurry, it's safe to say that no other picture shows the less serious side of Queen Elizabeth better than this one!

In this older image, taken in 1947 when Elizabeth was still Princess Elizabeth, the then-future Queen can be seen playing tag with the crew on board the HMS Vanguard, a battleship built during the Second World War.

The photo was taken during Elizabeth's very first tour of South Africa when she was just 21, which she embarked on alongside her sister Princess Margaret, her mother the Queen Mother, and her father King George. 

The then-future Queen looks utterly relaxed and carefree in this image, and is clearly having plenty of fun!

Laughing during a royal walkabout

1977: Queen Elizabeth II laughing with a crowd of children during celebrations for her Silver Jubilee.

(Image credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The Queen shared a genuinely warm smile during a walkabout to mark her Silver Jubilee celebrations (marking 25 years on the throne) in 1977, showing just how much joy she took from meeting members of the public – despite her often more serious persona when out and about on official engagements. 

In this picture, taken in Deptford, London, the Queen is seen laughing and smiling with a crowd of children, all of whom are early clamouring over the barrier to try and share a word with the monarch. 

She appears to be laughing at something in particular here, but unfortunately, it's not clear what – though there's no doubt she was having a great time.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.