Thank you for that, Guy.
As an ex-member of Her majesty's Armed Forces (for 12 years) I met her Majesty only once, Prince Phillip 3 times, Prince Charles twice and Princess Anne the Princess Royal, also twice.
The Queen was of course my employer at the time I met her, but what I remember most is her head-back, uproarious laughter at a very funny but slightly risque joke told by a mate in a Sergeant's Mess, during her visit. It made up for all the BS we had to put up with, getting the place and all our stuff totally spick and span.
Prince Philp I remember from one visit, as our Colonel-in-chief, when he was taken to first the Officer's Mess, then the Sergeant's Mess. He then asked where the lads drank. "Corporal's Mess, Sir!" barked the Sergeant-Major. So he demanded that it be opened to meet the Other Ranks, as the common soldiery are called in the British Army. I was a Corporal at the time and charged with running that Mess. I was rushed into changing from overalls into best dress and opening the place. I then found that Her Majesty shares a keen sense of humour with her consort, as PP kept us all in stitches with his stories. some of them were borderline racist, but this is a man who has never worried about what others think.
Prince Charles, a keen fan of the Goons and Monty Python, has a very dry sense of humour. Princess Anne was once opening a new barracks for the WRAC (Womens Royal Army Corps) and 2 mates and myself were there. During the dancing, she stood chatting to a group of the girls, when a very handsome mate asked her for a dance. She paused, looked him up and down twice and said "No!" with some finality.
We were not impressed with that, but some years later I was at a Disability College when the Princess Royal came to present prizes. She was on a stage and some of the recipients of prizes were in wheelchairs. She took one look and demanded to know why disabled people had to climb up to the stage, then took the whole party down to the floor. Vey much a lady who does not suffer fools at all.
Just a couple of stories but I am no real fan of the idea of a Sovereign. I think that we have been extremely lucky with our Queen, she is loved and totally respected for the service she has given unstintingly over these 60 years, and her immediate family are all following in her footsteps. However, the track record of our Royals up to 1937 has not been the brightest.
I guess it took an American from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to remind us that the Sovereign we now have is an absolute jewel: and very human with it.
Check out this: http://www.royal.gov.uk/hmthequeen/hmthequeen.aspx
And discover what our Royal Family is up to.