Scottish Lib Dem leader recalls moment Queen mistook him for a Green

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has told how he corrected the Queen when she mistook him for the leader of the Scottish Greens.

Mr Cole-Hamilton was part of a procession of leaders of all parties at Holyrood who welcomed the monarch to the Scottish Parliament at the beginning of the current parliamentary session last year.

As the Queen made her way down the line – speaking to the politicians as she went – she assumed Mr Cole-Hamilton was the co-leader of the Scottish Greens, having just spoken to Lorna Slater – the other co-leader of the party.

“We were lined up in order of party size, so I was next to Lorna,” he told the PA news agency on Friday.

“She was introduced to Lorna as the co-leader of the Green Party, then (Presiding Officer) Alison Johnstone said ‘this is Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Liberal Democrats’.

“Clearly Her Majesty didn’t hear that last bit.

“She said ‘do you share it?’

“And I said ‘I’m terribly sorry Your Majesty, share what?’

“She said: ‘The leadership'”

Mr Cole-Hamilton quickly corrected the monarch, telling her he was “not a Green”, to which she responded with a laugh.

The Queen went on to ask about Mr Cole-Hamilton’s life before politics, thanking him for his time as a youth worker before entering the Scottish Parliament.

The Lib Dem leader added it was a “lovely moment”, and he had been able to chat with the Queen for a few minutes.

“She must meet thousands of people, on a weekly basis hundreds of people, but tens of thousands across her life, and to have that ability to make you feel like the centre of her world for that short period of time, that’s a rare quality, a really rare quality,” he added.