Archbishop of York recalls Queen's frustration over 'difficult' jigsaw they did together

The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell and Queen Elizabeth II Credit: PA Images

The Archbishop of York has fondly recalled laughing with the Queen over a jigsaw they attempted together at her Sandringham estate.

The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell said the monarch had been "very good at putting people at their ease".

Throughout her life, Sandringham was the Queen's royal retreat - a holiday hideaway where she escaped the spotlight. Archbishop Cottrell was invited to join Her Majesty at her beloved Sandringham, and witnessed her in a casual setting.

He told ITV Calendar News: "When I stayed with her at Sandringham on the Sunday evening when all the other guests had gone home - and the Bishop always traditionally stays on, we sat and did a jigsaw and watched the telly and talked very ordinarily about stuff."

The puzzle was "fiendishly difficult", he said, remarking: "I've never attempted one like it."

He added: "When the evening came to a close and she said to me, 'well, I'm going to put the dogs out now, will you still be here when I get back, bishop?', I said to her, 'well, it depends how long you're going to be'.

He said the Queen remarked she would be around 10 minutes, to which he replied:

"'Well, if when you get back, I'm not here, I've gone to bed. If the jigsaw isn't here, it's because I've thrown it into the fire because I've never, ever attempted such a difficult one'. And we laughed."

The Archbishop of York reflected on the warmth of the Queen and her wonderful sense of humour.

He said: "The great figure head and head of our state and head of our nation. But of course, there is a human being inhabiting these roles... I was privileged to see the human being . "

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