St Helen's legendary entertainer Bernie Clifton says his 'Ostrich' had Queen in stitches

Legendary entertainer Bernie Clifton says the first time he met the Queen 'was the night of his life'.

The star from St Helens was picked to meet Her Majesty at the Royal Variety Show in London in 1979 when Bernie and his ostrich became a huge hit on the TV series Crackerjack.

Bernie said: “After my act, my friend Len Lowe told me ‘I was watching the Queen when you were on, she was laughing out loud and dabbing her eyes - she was crying with laughter."

He said he didn't dare look up at the Queen to see if she was enjoying his performance, he was just hoping the audience's reaction was being mirrored in the royal box.

Bernie added: "When I was introduced to the Queen, she said: ‘That was marvellous, where do you get your energy from?'

"I told her that I’d been in strict training for the last three months to make sure I was on form". He said the Queen said "well it really showed".

He said looking at the photograph and the Queen's smile, is one he treasures.

He had initially thought of sitting on his ostrich for the royal line up but is so glad he didn't.

Bernie Clifton and his ostrich 'Oswald'

35 years later Bernie met the Queen again, this time at Buckingham Palace.

Bernie said: “I was introduced and reminded her of our previous meeting and the ostrich.

She was very tiny and just looked up at me, raised an eyebrow and said: “Ostrich ? I said: Yes Ma’am I’m still riding the ostrich but these days it’s much, much slower.”

Then with a twinkle in her eye, she said: ‘Mmmm funny how things do get slower’…..and laughed as off she went.”

He also remembered as a young plumber in St Helens when the Queen's father, King George V died in 1952 and 'the women in the chip shop were all crying.'

He said the Queen has been an 'ever present part of his life'

More recently he has performed for the new King, who said he was 'going over the top' and which Bernie said 'was a wonderful moment.'

His photograph of meeting the Queen at the Royal Variety Show 43 years ago is among Bernie’s most treasured possessions.

David Walliams came up with the idea of Bernie Clifton topping the bill, but telling the audience he was stuck in traffic until the final act, when he arrived on