Remembering the Queen's playful sense of humour and impeccable comic timing

The Queen had a serious public persona - but her subtle humour also shone through. Credit: PA

The Queen has been remembered for her sense of humour and impeccable comic timing as tributes continue to pour in following her death, aged 96.

It was easy enough for anyone to elicit a polite laugh from the monarch, in her seven decades perfecting the art of shaking hands and small-talk.

However, “if there was something funny she laughed in a genuine way”, Sir David Attenborough recalled in his tribute today - in which he said he would miss her laughter dearly.

Since she took the throne aged just 25, Her Majesty was admired around the world for her poise as she carried out serious state duties in the public eye.But, over the years, her sense of humour also shone through.

Following her death, fans around the world have been recalling some of the Queen's wittiest moments - like her brush with two American tourists who didn't recognise her.

The Queen's prank on American tourists

During an interview with Sky News, the Queen's former protection officer Richard Griffin recalled what happened when two American tourists failed to recognise perhaps the most famous person in the world.

The pair came across the Queen walking with Mr Griffin as they explored her Scottish estate.

The two hikers struck up a conversation - explaining they were on a walking holiday, and had decided to take a stroll on the grounds of Balmoral Castle.

"It was clear from the moment we first stopped they hadn't recognised The Queen – which is fine – and the American gentleman was telling the Queen where they came from, where they were going to next, and where they'd been to in Britain," Mr Griffin recalled.

"And I could see it coming.

A National Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee will take place at St Paul's Cathedral Credit: Carl Court/PA Wire

"And sure enough, he said to Her Majesty, 'And where do you live?' And she said, 'well, I live in London but I have got a holiday home just the other side of the hills'."

One of the tourists then attempted to engage in small-talk, asking the Queen how often she had visited Balmoral.

Giving nothing away, she told him she had been visiting since she was a little girl - more than 80 years ago.

Mr Griffin continued: "And you can see the cogs ticking. He said: 'Well if you've been coming up here for 80 years, you must've met the Queen'." "And as quick as a flash, she says, 'Well I haven't, but Dicky here meets her regularly.'"

Mr Griffin said the pair then asked for a photo with him - which a bemused Queen gamely took.

He then encouraged the unwitting pair to swap places to pose for a picture with the monarch, before bidding them on their way - none the wiser.

Mr Griffin recalled: "Her Majesty said to me 'I'd love to be a fly on the wall when he shows those photographs to friends in America, and hopefully someone tells him who I am'."

The Queen making a builder a cup of tea

The monarch reportedly once personally made a builder a cup of tea while he was carrying out work dismantling a desk at Buckingham Palace.

"Yeah, in a mug. Two sugars. Builders' tea. I don't want any of that nonsense I had the last time I was here, all that fine china and all that saucer stuff," he was said to have responded when offered a cup of tea.

He said that a well-spoken woman came back and told him that his tea was ready.

"I've put your tea on the table here."

To his shock, he looked up to see the Queen herself leaving the room.

The remarkable life of the Queen remembered in our latest episode of What You Need To know

Tea with Paddington Bear

The Queen performed rarely - but when she did, it was sure to generate headlines around the world.

Her surprise appearance with a digitally animated Paddington bear in a video to mark her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June delighted viewers.

In the clip, the monarch and Paddington bond over marmalade sandwiches and tap out the beat of We Will Rock You on china teacups with silver spoons.

The 96-year-old, who did not attend the Jubilee event amid ongoing mobility issues, revealed she shared Paddington’s love of marmalade sandwiches and kept an emergency stash in her trademark handbag.

The video - released as a surprise cameo to kick off the star-studded concert - brought the house down.

The Queen met Paddington Bear at Buckingham Palace Credit: Buckingham Palace/Studio Canal/BBC Studios/Heyday Films/PA

London Olympics cameo

The world was given a surprise insight into her comic timing and her sense of humour in 2012 when she made a show-stealing cameo in Danny Boyle’s iconic London Olympics opening ceremony. In the segment, Daniel Craig's James Bond calls at the Palace, where the monarch, sitting at her writing desk, makes him wait before greeting him with the words “Good evening, Mr Bond.” They then walk together, with the Queen's beloved corgis beside them, towards a helicopter and set off, flying over London to the Olympic stadium.

The scene concludes with a stunt-double costumed as the Queen parachuting live into the arena.

Seconds later the Queen herself, wearing the same peach dress as she did in the filmed sequence, entered the stadium to rapturous applause.

The Queen plays in a video with Daniel Craig as James Bond during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony. Credit: PA

Prince Harry's 'mic drop'

In April 2016, Prince Harry enlisted his grandmother's help to feature in a 40-second comedy routine with then-President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The light-hearted video formed part of efforts to raise awareness for the Invictus Games, an annual sporting competition for injured military veterans, which were to be held in the US the following month.

“A message? Oh, from Michelle,” deadpans Prince Harry as he pretends to pick up a text alert from the first lady. “How very amusing. Would you like to watch it together?” he asks his grandmother, perched beside him on a cosy sofa.

In the video, the Obamas stare deadpan into the camera, with Michelle saying: "Hey, Prince Harry, remember when you told us to 'Bring It' at the Invictus Games?" Obama then says: "Careful what you wish for", before one of the servicemen behind them pretends to drop the microphone with a “boom” and mimes a 'mic drop'.

The Queen, appears to watch the video and comments: "Oh, really? Please." Smiling at the camera, Prince Harry then mimes his own 'mic drop'.

Floella Benjamin joins ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship and Presenter Tom Bradby to reflect on the humour of Her Majesty

The Queen's performances in her younger years

The Queen was reputed to be a talented mimic, like her mother.

In private, she had been known to turn her skill on the rich and famous.

As a teenager, she showed a talent for amateur theatricals and took part in a run of wartime Christmas pantomimes at Windsor.

Last year, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship took a look back on the Queen's festive pantomime performances during the bleak days of the Second World War

She appeared in Aladdin in 1943, dressed in a sackcloth apron, as a charlady and greatly amused the audience, which included her father, King George VI and the Queen Mother.

The performances, which helped entertain evacuees, provided much-needed comic relief from the horrors of war.

The following year she took the role of a Victorian seaside belle.

Following the news of her passing, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby described Her Majesty as "humorous", adding that she “never lost hope” even in bad moments in her life.

A young Queen at the Maundy Thursday ceremony in 1952 – the first public engagement of her reign Credit: PA

Simon Lewis, former director of communications for The Queen, told ITV News of her great sense of humour.

"The thing about The Queen - particularly when she was with her late mother, late sister - was that they had a tremendous sense of humour."

"And very quick, I am told, a great mimic as well."

Baroness Floella Benjamin described the "twinkle" in her "deep blue" eyes whenever her face lit up with laughter.

"She would throw her head back and laugh. But also she was somebody who could mimic as well and always saw the funny side of life," the broadcaster, actress and author said.