After dropping in on the set of Game of Thrones yesterday (and yet declining to claim her rightful place as master of the seven kingdoms), Queen Elizabeth II solidified her position as an unexpected wayfarer in popular culture, a sort of old-fashioned and lovable living meme.
But as any good player in Westeros knows, you don’t get to the top without some campaigning (and in Elizabeth’s case, a lot of corgis). And so we’ve compiled some of her majesty’s most memorable contributions to the public’s pop-cultural consciousness.
The London Olympics: Queen Elizabeth made a memorable arrival at the Opening Ceremonies in 2012 with the help of James Bond. While she didn’t actually parachute into the stadium that day, she and her corgis did get to appear alongside Daniel Craig.
Though Elizabeth skipped out on the extreme sports, her dour expression mid-opening ceremony became the face that launched a thousand memes, from Hunger Games references to jokes about Gotye (yes, even by mid-2012, we were still not over Gotye). A year later, another image seemingly ready-made for Internet consumption emerged when the Queen’s horse Estimate won the Gold Cup at the Royal Ascot in 2013.
Cover girl: The British monarch has become a sort of tongue-in-cheek fashion plate recently; she, Angela Merkel, and Hillary Clinton could unite to form an axis of pansuit chic. But she actually has a history as a real cover girl: The Queen first appeared on the cover of Time in 1929, and has made the cover of five more since then. Long may she smize.
Warhol’d: Like Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth’s image was a fitting canvas for pop artist Andy Warhol, who replicated it in 1985, saying, “I want to be as famous as the Queen of England.” But in 2012, the Queen did Warhol one better by purchasing a set of portraits of the pop artist’s portraits for the Royal Collection just in time for her Diamond Jubilee.
The Queen: Elizabeth’s PR game wasn’t always as good as it is today. As dramatized in 2006’s The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, Britain’s monarch had difficulty relating to her people following the death of the “people’s princess” Diana in 1997. Still, the role was enough to earn Dame Mirren an Oscar, and prepare her to play the role of Elizabeth in situations when the Queen declines the invitation herself.
The case of the missing nuts: When she’s not busy listening to her iPod or playing her Wii, the Queen spends her time making sure that appearances are kept up. Emails submitted to the phone hacking trial of journalists in the now defunct News of the World in 2013 revealed that Elizabeth became so incensed over the possibility that officers were eating the nuts left out in bowls in the corridors of Buckingham Palace that she drew lines on their sides to catch them out. No word on whether the case was successful, or whether her majesty is still snooping around for suspects.