Ex-royal bodyguard Richard Griffin recalls the time two Americans thought the Queen was someone else (Picture: Sky News / Getty)

An ex-royal protection officer has recounted the moment the Queen bumped into two American tourists who somehow didn’t recognise her.

Richard Griffin had accompanied the monarch on a picnic in Balmoral when they encountered the pair, who were on a walking holiday.

‘The Queen would always stop and say hello… it was clear from the moment we first stopped they hadn’t recognised [her]’ he told Sky News.

The American man began telling the royal about his plans for the holiday and what the pair hoped to do next, before asking her where she lived.

Mr Griffin recalled: ‘She said, “Well, I live in London, but I’ve got a holiday home just the other side of the hills”.’

The tourist then asked the Queen how long she had been visiting the area, and she replied she had been doing so for ‘over 80 years, since [she] was a little girl’.

‘Well, if you’ve been coming up for 80 years, you must have met the Queen?’ he had asked, none the wiser.

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As quick as a flash, the Queen admitted she hadn’t but added: ‘Dickie here meets her regularly’. This prompted the traveller to turn to Mr Griffin, eager for an answer.

‘She can be very cantankerous at times, but she’s got a lovely sense of humour,’ Mr Griffin said.

Still oblivious to the fact he was in the presence of royalty, the tourist threw his arm around the bodyguard, and pushed his camera into the Queen’s hand, asking if she’d mind him taking a photo for him.

The Queen obliged, before she and her bodyguards waved goodbye to the Americans.

Once the tourists were out of earshot, she turned to Mr Griffin and said: ‘I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he shows those photographs to friends in America. Hopefully, someone tells him who I am.’

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