Queen Elizabeth not amused by Bond joke from minister Jeremy Hunt
Queen Elizabeth greets chef Heston Blumenthal, centre, and former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt during a reception for the organizers of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, at Buckingham Palace in London on Tuesday. (Reuters)
This was one trip to Buckingham Palace that British politician Jeremy Hunt might rather want to forget.
Hunt and about 350 others were invited to the Palace on Tuesday evening as a thank-you for their efforts in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations that marked the Queen's 60 years on the throne.
Hunt was culture minister during during the summer, at the height of the Jubilee party and the Olympics.
As the Queen stopped in front of him during her stroll down the long line of invitees, he made a little small talk by remarking on the monarch's star turn as a Bond girl with Daniel Craig at the Olympic Games opening ceremony.
Still smiling, he then told her: "I read about a Japanese tourist who said afterwards how wonderful our Queen must be to take part in that as they would never get their emperor to jump out of the plane."
No laugh. No smile. No nothing. Just an uncomfortable silence that was only seconds, but longer than that if you were Hunt. Finally, the Queen smiled, shrugged, and turned her attention to the next person, according to an account in the Telegraph.
The ordeal wasn't over yet.
Next up was Prince Philip, who didn't hesitate at all in asking Hunt: "Who are you?"
Undeterred, Hunt explained that he had been culture minister at the time of the Jubilee parties, but was now health secretary.
The 91-year-old Duke of Edinburgh did not seem at all embarrassed that he didn't know one of the Queen's own ministers.
"Well, they do move you people on a lot," he deadpanned, before striding away to continue the grip-and-grin phase of the reception.
Some witnesses to the exchanges later told the media that it seemed quite apparent that the royal pair delivered an old-fashioned snub to Hunt.
Sources close to Hunt, though, disputed the account, telling the Evening Standard that the Queen was amused with his story and "it was all very nice and pleasant." However, the Duke's quotes, the source said, were accurate.
Mr. Hunt will try to be amused.