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Wednesday 19th December 2012 | 11:19
This superb photo of the Queen surrounded by a laughing Cabinet was rightly the Evening Standard's splash pic yesterday.
Taken by the legendary snapper Jeremy Selwyn, it captures perfectly the genuine moment of contrast between Her Majesty and Her Ministers. Not surprisingly nervous*, they all look relieved to have something puncture the atmosphere.
But what was it that made them all look so human?
Well, The Queen had just told the assembled throng: “You are allowed to smile…”.
Cue their laughter - while she cannily then looked down the barrel of the camera with an utterly professional pose.
What better way to prove you’ve been around the block a lot longer than anyone in the room?
*FOOTNOTE. We all love it when Her Maj makes a joke. When the coming Queen’s Speech was discussed at Cabinet, No.10 told us that she ‘very gently and very humourously’ pointed out that her hope that next year’s speech would be 'on the shorter rather than longer side'.
The PM himself was also nervous, even though he has had a weekly audience with the Queen for the past two years. I hear he did some serious 'prep' before the Cabinet meeting to ensure he had boned up enough on Afghanistan and the Parliamentary business to introduce and conclude each item without a hitch.
As I blogged last night, Sir George Young proved to be the cheekiest member of the Cabinet, however. As soon as the Queen left Cabinet, the Chief Whip pounced to retrieve her nameplate (all ministers have one and she had one made specially). What will he do with his Royal memento? Surely it won’t go on eBay?
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