The Queen has become renowned for her composure in the worst of situations, hardly ever showing any signs of discomfort or complaining. But a new Channel 5 documentary, ‘Secrets of the Royals on Tour’, recently revealed how Her Majesty was left “absolutely furious” after a host failed to meet her time during an official tour. Narrator Glynis Barber said: “There is one thing the Queen cannot stand, and it led to her trip to Morocco in 1980 being dubbed the ‘tour of hell’.”
Royal commentator Richard Kay explained the Queen had arrived at a joint engagement with King Hassan II when she visited Morocco in 1980 but was left waiting for hours as her fellow monarch failed to show up on time.
Mr Kay said: “The king was notoriously tardy about punctuality and he didn’t turn up. And he was hours late for the Queen, and the Queen had to wait.
“She kept up a fantastic expression but we learned later that she was absolutely furious, absolutely furious that she’d been kept waiting all this time.”
Mr Kay added: “It’s not because she feels it’s disrespectful to her but she’s got a full day of engagements.
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“It meant everything ran late, and it meant the Queen was going to keep other people late and that was her concern.”
Dispatches from royal correspondents at the time claimed Her Majesty had been “clearly very angry” and reported the Queen had threatened to walk out.
She told photographers at the time: “Keep your cameras trained.
“You may see the biggest walkout of all time.”
Princess Margaret had reportedly warned her sister about the difficulties she would face when visiting Morocco.
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The Queen’s sister is reported to have told Her Majesty between her departure: “Going to Morocco is rather like being kidnapped, you never know where you are going or when.”
Much of the uncertainty is believed to have been the result of King Hassan II becoming paranoid after several attempts to kill him.
The Queen was forced to change cars seven times as she travelled from Marrakesh into the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains during the trip in October 1980.
Most of the clinically-prepared schedule was thrown into disarray and venues were switched between the many Royal palaces without notice.
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At one time, the Queen arrived in full regalia for the king’s state banquet to find that the chosen palace was closed and Her Majesty had to wait for King Hassan II’s arrival for nearly an hour.
The Queen has always been strict in following the customs of countries she visits and, when she travelled abroad more frequently, used to have a packed schedule to make sure she met as many people as possible.
Royal commentator Ingrid Seward said: “She’s very, very careful to be exactly what is expected of her.
“You have to bow to the customs of the country because that is polite. And there’s no point going somewhere if you’re not being polite.”