Queen’s hilarious response after Balmoral tourists fail to recognize her on country walk

The Queen is currently enjoying her annual summer break at Balmoral Castle

Queen Elizabeth II watches her horse 'Balmoral Moorland' win in the Highland class on day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse show on May 15, 2009
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen is currently enjoying her annual summer break at Balmoral Castle and though she prefers to keep a low profile, she once had a particularly hilarious response after a group of tourists failed to recognize her.


The Queen is currently making the most of the glorious weather as she undertakes her traditional summer break at Balmoral Castle. Long considered to be one of Her Majesty’s favorite royal residences, Princess Eugenie once told an ITV documentary that she believes her grandmother “is the most happy there”. Throughout their 73-year marriage, the Queen and Prince Philip made many wonderful memories at Balmoral together. Now the Queen has traveled to Scotland for her first vacation since his passing in April.

Her Highlands home offers the Queen the chance to relax away from the royal spotlight, enjoying countryside picnics and walking her dogs. Whilst these annual trips also allow Her Majesty to enjoy private quality time with her family, as she often invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her. And it seems that her efforts to keep a low profile have sometimes been even more successful than she might have imagined. 

As reported by The Times, former royal protection officer Richard Griffin claimed that one year, a group of American tourists failed to recognize her at all—and the monarch had a truly brilliant response. 

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, walk together during a garden party at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire on August 7, 2012

(Image credit: DAVID CHESKIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Queen was reportedly out walking on her Aberdeenshire estate, wearing a simple headscarf and tweed coat as she opted for a more relaxed countryside look compared to her colorful formal attire. According to Richard, the group approached the Queen and asked her whether she lived locally, to which she responded that she had a house nearby.

The group are then said to have asked whether she had actually met the Queen, at which point the monarch’s sense of humor really came to the fore. 

“No, but this policeman has,” she reportedly replied, gesturing to the protection officer.

Richard, who worked with the Royal Family for over 30 years, revealed that the group then went on their way, completely unaware that they had now met the Queen themselves.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in a field with some highland cattle at Balmoral, Scotland, 1972

(Image credit: Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This is not the first time the monarch’s ability to produce a hilarious response has been showcased throughout her reign. Just last month, the Queen revealed her royal sense of humor with a hilarious quip at the G7 summit during a photo-call with world leaders.

Now the Queen is expected to spend the next few months at Balmoral Castle, before returning to England in the autumn. And with sunshine predicted to continue over the coming weeks, it's likely she could come across more tourist groups during her walks on the stunning Highlands estate. 

Whether or not she would be recognized remains to be seen, though we’re sure Her Majesty will have a suitably hilarious and charming response either way!

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.


Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.


In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 


After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!