When Queen Elizabeth ticked off David Cameron... for trying to wash her dishes

David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth - Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP
David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth - Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP

David Cameron has recalled how Queen Elizabeth once reprimanded him for attempting to do the washing-up at Balmoral.

In a tribute to the late Queen posted by the Conservative Party on social media, in which various former prime ministers recalled their weekly meetings with Queen Elizabeth and yearly trips to Balmoral, Mr Cameron said that he had to sit back down “rapidly” and do as he was told after trying to do the washing-up.

The former prime minister said: “It was an extraordinary treat to be able to go to Balmoral every year for six years, and one of the best parts was when in the evening you’d get into Her Majesty’s car, a Range Rover, and she would drive at breakneck speed up the hill and onto the moor.

“And there at a sort of converted bothy, an old cottage on the hill, would be the Duke of Edinburgh with a barbeque he’d built himself, barbequing grouse for your dinner.”

He added: “I’m not making this up, you sat down and Prince Philip and Her Majesty the Queen served your dinner and cleared it away and washed it up while you sat talking with the other guests.

“I remember, I think it was sort of year five, I thought ‘Well, I now surely can help’ and got up and got on the Marigolds and started doing the washing-up. And I remember Her Majesty saying: ‘What on earth is the prime minister doing?’

“I’d broken with the protocol and rapidly sat back down and did what I was told.”

Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth - Dominic Lipinski/PA
Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth - Dominic Lipinski/PA

In another tribute, Theresa May said: “Her Majesty was so good at putting everybody at their ease. She was incredibly well informed, had immense experience, knowledge and wisdom.

“And it’s a moment in the week when you’re away from the hurly burly of politics, and you can actually sit down with somebody with experience and wisdom, knowledge and understanding and have that conversation about the issues of the day.”

Sir John Major said that in conversation with Queen Elizabeth, “nothing was barred, nothing was out of court”, adding that it was “very cathartic, very interesting and something frankly that one looked forward to each week”.