The story that sums up the Queen’s tireless approach to life

The Queen in a Land Rover Defender at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1989. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II was a record monarch.

She reigned longer than any other king or queen in British history, she traveled the world more than any other ruler and her marriage to Prince Philip was the longest royal marriage in history.

In addition to breaking records, Queen Elizabeth II was not afraid to break boundaries. This is perhaps best summed up by one story in particular, involving Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

The fascinating anecdote, revealed in the memoirs of British diplomat Sir Sherard Cowper Coles, told how the Queen had ‘terrorized’ the prince by taking him on a breathtaking walk through Balmoral Park – quite a shock for the ruler of a country where women were not allowed to drive.

“You are not expected to repeat what the Queen says in private conversation,” Sir Cowper-Coles wrote.

“But the story she told me on that occasion was one I was also to hear later about her – Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia – and it’s too funny not to repeat. .”

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) shows King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Saudi items from the royal collection in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London October 30, 2007. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia received a lavish welcome from Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday as he began a state visit amid angry protests and headlines after accusing Britain of counter-terrorism failures.  The Queen, alongside her husband Prince Philip and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, officially welcomed the King to Horse Guards Parade in central London, where he inspected an honor guard wearing bearskin hats .  AFP PHOTO/KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/WPA POOL (Photo credit should read AKIRA SUEMORI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Queen with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in the Buckingham Palace photo gallery in 2007. (Getty)

Britain's envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Sherard Cowper-Coles arrives at the Foreign Office for a meeting in Islamabad April 24, 2009. On April 24 Taliban fighters began to evacuate a Pakistani district where the government has deployed additional forces under pressure from the United States to prevent hardliners from closing in on the capital, officials said.  AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images)

British envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sherard Cowper-Coles (AFP/Getty).

In 2003 Prince Abdullah, who was Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler after his brother King Fahd suffered a stroke, was invited to visit Balmoral and have lunch with the Queen – who was 77.

Sir Cowper-Coles recalls: “After lunch the Queen had asked her royal guest if he would like a tour of the estate.

“Invited by his foreign minister, the gracious Prince Saud, an initially hesitant Abdallah accepted.

“The royal Land Rovers were lined up in front of the castle.

A group photo of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (right) with Queen Elizabeth II (left) and the Duke of Edinburgh (centre) before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London after Day One of the visit of the Saudi kings.  (Photo by John Stillwell - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with the Queen before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace. (Getty Images)

“As noted, the Crown Prince rode in the front seat of the front Land Rover, with his interpreter in the seat behind.

“To her surprise, the Queen climbed into the driver’s seat, turned on the ignition and drove off.

“Women are not – yet – allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen.

“His nervousness only increased when the Queen, a wartime army driver, sped the Land Rover along the narrow roads of the Scottish estate, talking the whole time.

“Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and focus on the road ahead.”

Perhaps the prince was unaware that the queen had been trained to drive ambulances and work as a truck mechanic during World War II, which means he was clearly in good hands the whole time.

It’s not the only time the Queen’s driving skills have been remembered.

In a speech paying tribute to the Queen on Friday, Boris Johnson made the House of Commons laugh with a similar remembrance.

He said: “Unlike us politicians with our precursors and our armored convoys, I can tell you as a direct eyewitness that she drove herself in her own car without detectives or bodyguards, bouncing at a alarming speed on the Scottish landscape, to the great wonder of hikers and tourists encountered.

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