by Hans ten Cate
Monday, 27 May 2002

Terry Gilliam and 600 other celebrity guests came out for a reception on May 22nd honoring the Queen. The Queen was on hand to mix with the stars at London's Royal Academy of Arts for the Golden Jubilee, celebrating Elizabeth II's 50 years of queendom.

Also attending from the world of comedy were John Bird, Craig Charles, Adrian Edmondson, Ben Elton, Barry Humphries, Griff Rhys Jones, Penelope Keith, John Sessions, Meera Syal, and Victoria Wood.

But when the Queen was introduced to some of the luminaries, the event proved too taxing for her memories. At one point, the Queen was introduced to singers Mick Hucknall (of Simply Red) and Kate Bush, along with Terry Gilliam and actress Stephanie Beecham. But Her Majesty didn't know who anyone was.

The Queen inquired to Hucknall: "And what do you do?"

"I could not tell her we had met before - that would have been a faux pas," said Hucknall, "I just said we were singer-songwriters. I'm not offended, after all she's a grandmother."

Kate Bush later told reporters that "She had to ask us all who we were. But she was lovely - she was radiant."

Novelist Dame Beryl Bainbridge turned the tables on the Queen: "When I was introduced to her, I didn't know who it was - I thought it was Vera Lynn," she said.


  • "Queen Leads Jubilee Arts Party," in BBC News (, Wednesday, 22 May 2002
  • "Showbiz who's who meets the Queen," in Ananova (, Wednesday, 22 May 2002
  • Alan Hamilton, "Dame Edna upstaged at jubilee arts party," in The Times of London, Thursday, 23 May 2002, Final 5, p. 9.