The Queen Mother's Ali G Impression Killed With the Boys

Why isn't everyone talking about this?

The royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London during the Trooping the Colour ceremo...
Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images
Rappin' Granny

You wanna know 'ow I make diz country bettah? Iz simple, two words: keep it real!

And now you’re askin’, wot is yous bangin’ on about?

Well, bruver, that is me impression of the Queen Mother doing her famous Ali G impression while offering imperial advice to her daughter, sovereign bitch Queen Elizabeth.

Okay, now it’s me again. That was crazy! Let me back up for context, and also let me apologize for the things I said above. Da Ali G Show was iconoclastic for its time, to be sure, but now I fear most of the elements comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was sending up in his impression of a clueless British white chav cribbing from Afro-Caribbean culture were lost in translation for American audiences. We’re left with only soundbites, and we barely remember what he was parodying.

But back to the matter at hand. I’ve been reading The Palace Papers, Tina Brown’s already classic new book about the royal family, all weekend. I’ve already learned a lot. For instance, Camilla and Prince Charles’s love is true and uncorrupted, and Prince William, who I’ve always found deadly boring and nice-enough, is somewhat of a calculating despot in training. Yet one anecdote in particular has shaken my foundational beliefs about this family: The batty old Queen Mother did a quite wicked Ali G impression.

Brown writes of Lilibet Supersenior:

Like the Queen, who can do swift, wicked renderings of anyone she has just met, the Queen Mother was a sly mimic. Her Blackadder was said to be very good, but even better was a rendering of Ali G., much appreciated by Prince Harry. She would say, “Darling, lunch was marvelous–respec.”

And this hasn’t been the top excerpt pulled from Brown’s book by various bottom-feeding websites for clicks? I had to know more.

In the index, Brown attributes this anecdote to a piece in the Telegraph called “The Day Great Granny Did Her Ali G Rap at the Dinner Table.” which includes an interview with Princes Harry and William a week after their great-grandmother’s death:

"It was two or three Christmases ago and we were sitting down watching Ali G on television," said Prince William. "We were laughing when she came in. She couldn't understand what was going on, so we explained. She saw Ali G click his fingers and say 'respec', and Harry and I showed her what to do. She loved it, and after three goes she had it. Later that day we were all in the dining room, having Christmas lunch, when she tried it out."
Prince Harry, 17, remembered exactly what the Queen Mother did. "It was at the end of the meal, and she stood up and said, 'Darling, lunch was marvellous - respec', and clicked her fingers."
Prince William said the entire family burst out laughing, including the Queen. He said of the Queen Mother: "She loved a good laugh, even if the joke was about her."

Rest in LOLs, Old Liz. Respec.

Sorry, should I not be talking like this? Maybe it’s only okay when a Windsor does it.