The Queen was nearly shot whilst taking an early-morning stroll around Buckingham Palace, it has been reported.
According to The Times Diary, a former guardsman has told of the occasion when he was patrolling the perimeter of the royal household at 3am when he spotted a figure.
Instantly alert he shouted: “Who’s that?”
When he realised it was the Queen he said: “Bloody hell, Your Majesty, I nearly shot you.”
Fully expecting a reprimand for his undignified language, he awaited a response.
Her Majesty said: “That’s quite all right. Next time I’ll ring through beforehand so you don’t have to shoot me.”
The Queen is apparently a fan of late-night strolls when she can’t sleep.
Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on the report.
It’s unlikely the Queen, 90, will have taken any recent strolls in the current chilly weather as she is recovering from a lingering heavy cold that forced her to miss engagements over the Christmas period.
She and the Duke of Edinburgh had delayed their journey from Buckingham Palace to their Norfolk estate in the days before Christmas after she fell ill. Other members of the royal family attended the service at St Mary Magdalene Church.
The Queen and her husband traditionally spend the festive period in Sandringham with their family gathered around them.
She also missed the New Year’s Day church service at Sandringham.
Missing these was seen as a common-sense decision which acknowledges the Queen’s advancing years but Buckingham Palace stressed the monarch is still patron of around 600 organisations.