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The ‘Golden Girls’ Put on a Special Performance for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

Photo Credit: Vinnie Zuffante / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Vinnie Zuffante / Getty Images

In a delightful intersection of royalty and television, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s admiration for the Golden Girls led to a memorable live performance by the show’s beloved cast. Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty brought their iconic characters to life before the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, blending humor with a touch of regal charm. This special event encapsulates a unique moment where the worlds of British royalty and American pop culture converged.

The Golden Girls phenomenon

The cast of the 'Golden Girls'
The cast of the ‘Golden Girls.’ (Photo Credit: Gary Null / NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images)

The Golden Girls phenomenon is a testament to the show’s ability to resonate with audiences across different generations. Its unique blend of humor, heart, and relatable life experiences created a perfect storm that captivated viewers. The chemistry among the cast members was palpable, and their comedic timing was impeccable. Each character brought something special to the table, making it easy for audiences to find someone they could relate to or admire. The show’s clever writing and willingness to tackle real-life issues with a lighthearted touch made it stand out in the crowded television landscape of its time.

One of the key elements that contributed to the show’s success was its portrayal of strong, independent women who were not afraid to speak their minds. This dynamic allowed the show to explore themes of friendship, aging, and personal growth in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. The Golden Girls‘ ability to balance humor with heartfelt moments ensured its place in television history and left an enduring legacy that continues to inspire new generations of viewers.

The Queen Mother’s fascination

The Queen Mother standing behind some flowers.
The Queen Mother on August 4, 1990. (Photo Credit: Georges De Keerle / Getty Images)

Apparently, the Golden Girls phenomenon reached even the highest social strata. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother herself was a huge fan of the show. So much so, in fact, that she personally requested a live performance from the four stars. Betty White recalled the event as “very exciting,” noting that the Queen was “lovely.” Prior to their visit, the cast was instructed not to address the Queen unless spoken to. During the performance, she was seated in a box with Princess Anne, and afterward, the pair came down to the stage.

In her 2010 memoir, Here We Go Again: My Life in Television, White detailed the interaction further, recounting how the cast curtsied as the Queen Mother approached. When the Queen Mother reached White, she gestured towards the scantily clad Rockettes and remarked, “Aren’t they beautiful girls?” White responded with a curtsy, “Yes, and such lovely bodies,” to which the Queen Mother replied with a radiant smile, “Oh, yes. Lovely bawdies.”

One line remained the same

The cast of the 'Golden Girls' sitting at their kitchen table.
They did the scene at their famous kitchen table. (Photo Credit: Joseph Del Valle / NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images)

Before the show, Bea Arthur mentioned in an interview, “We’ll do about seven minutes from the show, but we’ll have to censor a few things for the queen.” The cast “re-enacted two of their kitchen table scenes with a bit of censoring so as not to offend any royal sensibilities.” Surprisingly, one risqué line remained unchanged.

During the scene, Dorothy asks Blanche how long she waited to have sex after her husband died, to which Sophia quips, “Until the paramedics came.” The 88-year-old Queen Mother was seen in the Royal Box chuckling heartily at Sophia’s response, showcasing her sense of humor and adding a memorable moment to the evening.

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The live performance by the Golden Girls cast for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother remains a cherished anecdote, highlighting the show’s universal appeal and the graciousness of its stars. White’s detailed recollections provide a heartwarming glimpse into a unique royal encounter, underscoring the special bond between the cast and their distinguished fans. This event not only entertained the Queen Mother but also created a lasting legacy of humor and mutual admiration.

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June Steele

June Steele is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News