Forever the diplomat Queen Elizabeth has had to entertain some of the world’s most hated world leaders on behalf of the British Government.
Vladimir Putin, Bashar-Al-Assad and Robert Mugabe were all invited to Buckingham Palace, but according to royal biographer Robert Hardman, it was Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu that she dreaded the most.
Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, were invited on a State Visit in 1978 and in keeping with State Visit tradition, the Queen hosted a formal dinner at the palace.
“The press started to question the foreign secretary,” Hardman revealed in the new ITV documentary “Our Queen: Inside the Crown” with some asking “why are we inviting this monster to come to Britain?”
In front of the cameras Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip remained pro. She met Ceaușescu at London’s Victoria train station where she joined him in an open-top carriage ride back to Buckingham. But behind the scenes, the Queen would avoid her guests at all costs.
“On the occasion when they were staying she took the corgis out for a walk in the palace gardens and she could see the Ceaușescus coming the other way,” Hardman claimed. “She thought, ‘I really can’t face talking to them,’ so the first and only time in her life, she actually hid in a bush in the palace gardens to avoid her guests.”
Former British Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen added, “The Queen puts up with many different people, but Ceaușescu was too much for her.” She made it quite plain she didn’t like that visit!”
U.S. President Carter was another memorable guest, shocking the Queen Mother.
Historical novelist Sarah Gristwood recalled how Carter kissed the Queen Mother on the lips, causing her to take “an abrupt step back and saying that nobody had done that since her husband (George VI) died.”