6 | Peek Behind the Curtain: Reggie Selma In a Humorous Conversation with the Dalai Lama


The Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth the Second. I’m just a kid from Birmingham and I’ve been in her presence many times.

Peek Behind The Curtain: Reggie Selma & Queen Elizabeth

I am truly truly blessed this one particular assignment as I filmed her for CNN took place on the South Lawn of the White House. It was an event with President George W. Bush, Daddy Bush, as he was affectionately called. It was a beautiful day; the Queen was there on an official visit. And I was there to cover it. And on the stage also was first lady Barbara Bush, President Bush spoke he gave a warm, warm welcome because the UK they are our closest allies. It was just a wonderful occasion. And now is the queen of England’s turn to speak. Everything is going great until she steps up to the podium.


We could not see the Queen of England because the podium was set for the six foot one inch US president but not so much for the five foot five Queen of England. Now usually there is a member of the White House production team that will lower the podium for each speaker is a foot pedal, you don’t even see it being lowered. They press it you’re watching it and all of a sudden, the lectern is perfect for whatever guess. But this is the Queen of England. And I guess everybody was in awe of her, including George H. Bush.


So as the Queen starts to speak, all you could see was this huge purple hat that she wore no eyes, no mouth, just her purple hat, this speech became known as the speech of the purple hat. And you could tell just for a second President Bush realized what was going on and he was going to press the foot pedal to lower the podium. So, we took one step forward. And then he took one step back as if to say I’m not gonna do it. This is the Queen of England. I’m not going to interrupt her.


So now in my earpiece, my director is saying do something, we can’t see the queen and I said, I can’t see the Queen eater, and neither can anyone else.


She gave this speech, and it was hilarious. And of course, the British press corps that followed her from the UK, they were furious with us afterwards, like it was our fault. And then the White House press spokesman came back, and they started apologizing. And of course, the British press started yelling at them, and I just sat down on the lawn and I just started laughing. It reminded me have the war of 1812 all over again.

So that was my moment with the queen in Washington DC the speech of the purple hat. It was amazing. No one remembers a word she said. But boy was she rocking that purple hat.


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