Just smile and wave. Queen Elizabeth II made a rare appearance at a public event amid health issues that have kept her from her royal duties — and one comedian carefully cracked a bold joke at her expense.
“Your Royal Highness, on behalf of everyone here we would like to thank you, very humbly, for picking us over the State Opening of Parliament,” comedian Omid Djalili quipped at the Windsor Horse Show’s “Galloping Through History” event on Sunday, May 15, which marked the queen’s first event in several weeks. “You did the right thing, and I won £5 in a bet with my local kebab shop owner in Ipswich.”
On Tuesday, May 10, the monarch, 96, opted to skip the State Opening of Parliament due to ongoing “episodic mobility problems,” Buckingham Palace announced in a statement the day prior. In her 70 years on the throne, her absence marked just the third time she missed the event. Her oldest son, Prince Charles, instead recited “the queen’s speech on Her Majesty’s behalf,” per the palace.
While some audience members at the Windsor Horse Show were shocked at Djalili’s slight dig, the queen herself instead offered a smile in response and waved at the crowd.
Elizabeth appeared to be in a jolly mood throughout the weekend activities at the horse show, which was held in honor of the Platinum Jubilee that marks her 70 years as the reigning monarch. Her Majesty not only watched her horses parade in one of the processions, but also saw her granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor arrive in the late Prince Philip’s carriage. Additionally, the queen was feted with a speech from Helen Mirren and honored by other A-listers, including Tom Cruise.
The monarch’s health has been called into question over the past couple of years as she has been forced to skip multiple events due to various medical issues. In October 2021, she was briefly hospitalized for undisclosed reasons and she missed Remembrance Day events the following month due to a sprained back. In February, she tested positive for COVID-19.
“She’s showed extraordinary courage and is thankful for all the love and support she’s received, and as long as she feels able to work that’s what she’ll continue to [do],” a source told Us Weekly in March when Elizabeth resumed her royal duties upon recovering from COVID.
Last month, however, she was forced to miss Maundy Thursday on April 14, the Thursday before Easter. Days before, she had visited with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who were in town for the Invictus Games. The Duke of Sussex, 37, later told Hoda Kotb that his grandmother was “[in] great form” and that he made her laugh.
“She’s always got a sense of humor when she’s with me,” he added.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!