Queen Elizabeth is well known for her manners and hospitality. She’s had decades of experience as a political and public figure, but even the Queen of England has people she wants to avoid.
Who Had The Queen Hiding In Bushes?
In 1978, Queen Elizabeth played host to Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, who stayed in London for four days with his wife Elena. The British Government invited the dictator to attend functions at Buckingham Palace, as they do with all visiting dignitaries.
However, even before Ceaușescu arrived in the UK, the despot was very unpopular with the British public. “The press started to question the foreign secretary,” Robert Hardman revealed in the new ITV documentary Our Queen: Inside the Crown. He continued, saying that the media even asked ‘’why are we inviting this monster to come to Britain?”
This didn’t stop the queen from doing her royal duties. She and Prince Philip met the Romanian couple at London’s Victoria train station, then escorted them back to Buckingham Palace in an open-top carriage. While Queen Elizabeth may have been putting on a friendly face for the public, she was much less polite in private.
“On the occasion when they were staying, she took the corgis out for a walk in the palace gardens and she could see the Ceaușescus coming the other way,” Hardman said. “She thought, ‘I really can’t face talking to them,’ so for the first and only time in her life, she actually hid in a bush in the palace gardens to avoid her guests.”
Nobody knows if Ceaușescu ever caught the queen hiding from him. However, the queen made it very clear to the British Government that she did not want to play host to the Romanian dictator again.
“The Queen puts up with many different people, but Ceaușescu was too much for her,” former British Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen adds in the documentary. “She made it quite plain she didn’t like that visit!”
Other Annoying Visitors
Ceaușescu isn’t the only visiting dignitary who the queen disliked. Five years before his visit, President Mobutu of Zaire caused a headache for the queen when it was discovered that his wife Marie-Antoinette had smuggled her pet dog through customs for the visit. “President Mobutu of Zaire was definitely a low point,” adds Hardman. “The Queen was very unhappy about that.” Keep calm and carry on, for sure.