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

The Queen enjoyed her annual summer break at Balmoral Castle earlier this year

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 had her usual summer break at Balmoral Castle earlier this year and though she prefers to keep a low profile while at the rambling estate, she once had a particularly hilarious response after a group of tourists failed to recognize her.

The Queen makes the most of her annual summer break by vacationing 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. This year the Queen traveled to Scotland for her first vacation since Philip's 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. While 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. In June, 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 has returned to England for fall but we're hoping she might come across more tourist groups during her walks near Balmoral Castle again next year!

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!