'I don't think it's going to work': Queen quips as she cuts cake with sword

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·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read
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Watch: Queen cuts cake - with not a knife but a ceremonial sword

The Queen got a laugh when she decided to cut a cake with a ceremonial sword - determined despite her own disbelief.

The Queen, 95, was with her daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall and granddaughter-in-law Duchess of Cambridge at the Eden Project in Cornwall, to celebrate the Big Lunch.

When it came time to cut the cake, the Queen was given a ceremonial sword by Edward Bolitho, the Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, though shed doubt on the idea of using it, saying: "I don't think it's going to work."

She was told: "There is a more conventional knife available" but Her Majesty quipped back: "I know there is, this is more unusual."

Camilla, 73, came to her aid, helping her with the unwieldy weapon, and the two women successful sliced the whole way through.

The Queen then used a knife to cut a second slice and remarked: "That looks very good."

ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L), Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (C) and Queen Elizabeth II meet people from communities across Cornwall at an event in celebration of The Big Lunch initiative at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosts leaders from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 Summit. This year the UK has invited India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders' Summit as guest countries as well as the EU. (Photo by Oli Scarff - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Kate, Camilla and the Queen meet people from communities across Cornwall at an event in celebration of The Big Lunch initiative at The Eden Project. (Oli Scarff - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Queen Elizabeth II (C) attempts to cut a cake with a sword, lent to her by The Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Edward Bolitho, to celebrate of The Big Lunch initiative at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosts leaders from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 Summit. This year the UK has invited India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders' Summit as guest countries as well as the EU. (Photo by Oli Scarff - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
The Queen seemed determined to use the sword to cut the cake. (Oli Scarff - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Queen Elizabeth II (C) takes a sword from The Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Edward Bolitho (L) in order to cut a cake to celebrate of The Big Lunch initiative at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosts leaders from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 Summit. This year the UK has invited India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders' Summit as guest countries as well as the EU. (Photo by Oli Scarff - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
She took the sword from The Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Edward Bolitho for the Big Lunch cake. (Oli Scarff - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

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The Queen also charmed world leaders when she hosted an open air engagement in the Eden Project alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

During the family photo at the evening reception, she asked: "Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourself?"

The leaders around her laughed and Boris Johnson replied with an emphatic "yes".

Johnson, who is hosting the summit in Cornwall, added: "We have been enjoying ourselves – in spite of appearances."

Germany's Angela Merkel walked over to the Queen and thanked her for posing for the picture, saying: "Thank you for doing that for us."

Watch: G7 summit: Queen charms prime ministers and presidents

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C), poses for a family photograph with, from left, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson , Italy's Prime minister Mario Draghi, President of the European Council Charles Michel and US President Joe Biden, during an evening reception at The Eden Project in south west England on June 11, 2021. - G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States meet this weekend for the first time in nearly two years, for three-day talks in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. (Photo by JACK HILL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen in the family photograph with, from left, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson , Italy's Prime minister Mario Draghi, President of the European Council Charles Michel and US President Joe Biden, at The Eden Project. (Jack Hill/AFP)

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During the Big Lunch reception, the three royals, in a rare joint appearance, spoke to various guests who had been invited because of their work during the pandemic.

The Big Lunch scheme gets neighbours and communities together but has had to be held online in because of COVID-19. However in 2022 the Big Lunch will be part of the Queen's platinum jubilee celebrations.

Peter Stewart, executive director of the Eden Project, said the Queen talked about "communicating over Zoom and so-forth" due to coronavirus.

"She was talking about the fact she usually meets world leaders and she hasn’t met them for two years and she brought that back to the importance of everyday life and getting to know our neighbours."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (5L), reacts after posing for a family photograph with, from left, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during an evening reception at The Eden Project in south west England on June 11, 2021. - G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States meet this weekend for the first time in nearly two years, for three-day talks in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. (Photo by JACK HILL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen had joked about whether they were meant to look like they were enjoying themselves. (Jack Hill/AFP)
ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) is seen next to United States President Joe Biden (3L) and First Lady Jill Biden (2L) as they speak to Queen Elizabeth II as President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen looks on as he hosts a drinks reception for Queen Elizabeth II and G7 leaders at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosts leaders from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 Summit. This year the UK has invited India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders' Summit as guest countries as well as the EU. (Photo by Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
The Queen met Joe and Jill Biden, who she will host for tea at Windsor Castle on Sunday afternoon. (Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

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Stewart, who introduced some of the guests to the royals, said: "There was a moment where Her Majesty was talking to a lady called Irene Rowe, who was a care worker for 20 years and caught Covid and recovered and has returned to work.

"She came home and gave COVID to her husband, who sadly died. She asked Her Majesty how she was and gave sympathy to her for losing her own husband, the Duke of Edinburgh."

Rowe, 65, from Helston, spoke to the Queen and Kate about the death of her husband Malcolm, 62, in February this year.

Rowe, a grandmother of eight, said she asked the Queen how she was coping after Philip's death and said: "I said you have been the same – you’ve just carried on like I have."

She added: "I said you have to carry on. I have good work, friends and family. People have been very kind.

"Kate touched my arm when I told her about my husband and said ‘oh no’.

"She was really caring and very nice, they both were.

"She asked if we got to see him in the hospital and I said we couldn’t, we weren’t allowed to."

The Queen lent her soft diplomacy support to the G7 events ahead of a busy weekend, as she prepares for her Trooping the Colour celebrations on Saturday and a meeting with Joe Biden on Sunday.

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