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The Queen: Have you been playing long?

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Pundits pronounce almost daily on the workings of the Queen’s mind, but few people really know her likes and dislikes. As of last night, however, there is at least one certainty: Her Majesty has quite clearly never been a fan of virtuoso electric guitar.


This fact became painfully obvious as the monarch engaged in conversation with some of the greatest exponents of the art produced by Britain during a reception at Buckingham Palace celebrating the country’s music industry.



And what do you do? The Queen meets Eric Clapton


It started when Brian May of Queen pointed out that it had been his honour to play the national anthem during the rock concert held at the palace in 2002 to mark the Golden Jubilee. “Oh! That was you was it?” replied a surprised monarch, before moving swiftly on to Jimmy Page.


Quite a lot of people would swoon in the presence of such a talent, but the Queen managed somehow to control her excitement. “Are you a guitarist too?” she asked of the Led Zeppelin megastar, as if addressing a member of the 1st Haywards Heath Scouts Band. He nodded.


Eric Clapton was taking no chances and, shaking the Queen firmly by the hand, introduced himself by name. “Have you been playing a long time?” the Queen asked, obviously none the wiser. “It must be 45 years now,” replied a non-plussed blues giant.


Next was Jeff Beck, like Clapton and Page a former Yardbird. Her Majesty was duly informed of the fact. “We’re all from Surrey,” added Clapton, grasping for some point of commonality. Luckily, the Queen had heard of Surrey. Clapton was philosophical as he munched his canapé.


“It’s great to meet her - and it doesn’t matter at all that she did not know who we are or what we do. I wouldn’t expect her to.” Some 500 guests were invited to the reception, and all except Geri Halliwell managed to turn up on time. The former Spice Girl breached protocol by arriving 40 minutes late — and, more importantly, after the Queen.


Phil Collins, who was also present, recounted his meeting with the Queen during a tribute concert for Nelson Mandela. “Before the concert she told me ‘I hope you’re not going to be too loud’. “Her only comment afterwards was ‘yes it was actually’.”


where this nugget came from

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