In Depth

Queen jokes about Trump and ‘health and safety’ with David Attenborough

Monarch lets her hair down in Buckingham Palace garden stroll with fellow nonagenarian

The Queen cracked a rare public joke on a stroll with Sir David Attenborough, poking fun at the noisy aircraft favoured by US presidents.

The pair were walking in the gardens of Buckingham Palace for a documentary about conservation in the Commonwealth when their conversation was interrupted by helicopters overheard.

“Why do they go round and round when you want to talk?”, the monarch is heard to grumble in the clip. “Sounds like President Trump or President Obama,” she adds, prompting laughter from Attenborough.

The Queen’s wry sense of humour is “often written about and referred to by Palace courtiers but rarely is it seen in public”, says ITV News.

The interruption came while the monarch and the naturalist, both 91, were taking part in filming for the upcoming ITV documentary The Queen’s Green Planet, which follows a conservation project aimed at preserving forests in Commonwealth nations.

Other preview clips from the broadcast suggest that the Queen and Attenborough “revelled in each other’s company”, says The Daily Telegraph.

The pair, who were born a month apart, share jokes about a tree that appears to have been “sat on”, and a sundial planted in the shade.

At one point, the Queen makes an unusually unguarded comment about “health and safety” attempts to prevent children from playing conkers, saying: “It seems to me quite harmless.”

The Queen took the rare step of agreeing to personally escort Attenborough around the palace’s tree collection for the documentary, which will air on Monday.

He was full of praise for his distinguished host, telling Radio Times that the guided tour was “a very nice occasion” and that the Queen had been “very gracious”.

“She is very unsolemn, very good at putting people at their ease,” he said.

The Queen and Attenborough have known one another since the 1980s, when he worked as a producer on the monarch’s Christmas speeches.

In 2016, he was chosen to read an address written by Paddington Bear author Michael Bond in celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday at a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.

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