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Queen Elizabeth II's incredible celebrity impersonation revealed by Gyles Brandreth

Writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth speaks to HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast

Queen Elizabeth II in pink coat and hat
Phoebe Tatham
Phoebe TathamContent Writer
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Writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth has shared a unique glimpse inside the late Queen Elizabeth II's childhood and her passion for doing impersonations.

The former politician spoke about Her late Majesty's desire to become an impersonator on the first episode of season two of HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast.

Crown Princess Elizabeth with her pony aged 10 © Getty
As a teenager, the late Queen loved doing impersonations

During World War II, the royal family were kept entertained at Windsor Castle with a series of famous entertainers including the likes of George Formby, who played the ukulele, and female impersonator Florence Desmond.

"Florence Desmond was a female impersonator. And in the 1930s and 1940s, she was famous on the radio doing impersonations of people like Mae West, Barletta…" he tells HELLO!.

"And Queen Elizabeth II, or she was then Princess Elizabeth, living in Windsor Castle, thought 'Ooh this is what I'd like to be. I'd like to be an impressionist.'

"And the Queen, then as a teenager, began doing impressions. And she said to me, 'Oh, I can still do George Formby'. And there and then the Queen picked up an imaginary ukulele, began strumming it and singing 'When I'm Cleaning Windows' in a perfect Lancashire accent.

The Queen Mother with her daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, in 1941© Getty
The Queen Mother with her daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, in 1941

"And she could do regional accents from all over the country… She could also do things. She could do objects, she could do horses. She could do different breeds of horses… She could do Concorde landing over Windsor Castle. The noise of the airplane approaching, the gears changing, the wheels coming down the whole roar of it. She could do the whole kit and caboodle."

In our first podcast episode, A Year On, official photographer Julian Calder also discusses the moment he discovered a well-renowned sex book on the late Duke of Edinburgh's bookshelves during a photoshoot. Listen to the full episode here...

Elsewhere, HELLO!'s royal editor Emily Nash looks back at the past royal year and how much it has changed since the late Queen's funeral. And what the second year of King Charles' reign will bring.

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