Theresa May shares cheesy tale about Queen in Commons tribute

·3-min read

Theresa May shared a funny anecdote of the time she dropped some cheese in front of the Queen, as she paid tribute to the late monarch in the House of Commons.

In a personal and emotional speech, the Conservative former prime minister shared moments she had with the Queen, often leaving the lower chamber almost crying from laughter.

She began her tribute telling MPs how the Queen was “quite simply the most remarkable person I have ever met”.

Mrs May then recalled a picnic at Balmoral, detailing how she employed the three-second rule with some cheese in the presence of the Queen.

The Maidenhead MP said: “Her Majesty loved the countryside, and she was down to earth and a woman of common sense.

“I remember one picnic at Balmoral, which was taking place in one of the bothies on the estate. The hampers came from the castle, and we all mucked in to put the food and drink out on the table.

“I picked up some cheese, put it on a plate and was transferring it to the table. The cheese fell on the floor. I had a split-second decision to make.”

Mrs May paused as MPs burst into laughter, before adding: “I picked up the cheese, put it on the plate and put it on the table. I turned round to see that my every move had been watched very carefully by Her Majesty the Queen.

“I looked at her. She looked at me and she just smiled. And the cheese remained on the table.”

Mrs May also recounted her weekly audiences with the monarch during her time as prime minister, joking it was the only meeting she knew “would not be briefed out to the media”.

She said: “Across the nations of the world, for so many people, meeting Queen Elizabeth simply made their day and for many will be the memory of their life.

“Of course, for those of us who had the honour to serve as one of her prime ministers, those meetings were more frequent with the weekly audiences.

Queen Elizabeth II death
The Queen greeting Theresa May before inviting her to become prime minister and form a new government in 2016 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“These were not meetings with a high and mighty monarch, but a conversation with a woman of experience and knowledge and immense wisdom. They were also the one meeting I went to, which I knew it would not be briefed out to the media.”

The comment was met with laughter by MPs, before Mrs May added: “What made those audiences so special was the understanding the Queen had of issues which came from the work she put into her red boxes, combined with her years of experience.”

Mrs May concluded her tribute, saying: “She was respected around the world. She united our nation in times of trouble.

“She joined in our celebrations with joy and a mischievous smile. She gave an example to us all, of faith, of service of duty, of dignity, of decency.

“She was remarkable, and I doubt we will ever see her like again. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.”