‘The Golden Girls’ and Queen Elizabeth Enjoyed a Connection: Here’s How

by Suzanne Halliburton

The Golden Girls was such a beloved TV show back in the 1980s that the series about women of a certain age had some very royal and loyal fans.

Let’s just say the residents of Clarence House in London were avid Golden Girls viewers. Elizabeth, the beloved Queen Mother, adored the show. When the now classic TV series premiered in 1985, the Queen Mum was only a smidge older than Sophia. So the series probably resonated with the beloved royal, although Sophia and the one-time queen consort probably only had their age in problem. But we’re betting they shared a similar sense of bawdy humor.

Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mum’s oldest daughter, died Thursday at age 96. She and her mother both were blessed with longevity. The Queen Mum was 101 when she died back in 2002. On sad days, it helps your heart when you reflect back on happier times. Both Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mum had hearty senses of humor. And the Queen Mum loved the four Golden Girls so much that she invited them to London.

Here’s the Queen Mum and her daughter, Queen Elizabeth in happier times. This was back in 2001, when the Queen Mother celebrated her 101st birthday. (Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

That’s why Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty found themselves on stage for the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium. This was back in 1988. The ladies came on stage to reenact a scene, which wasn’t toned down for royal “sensibilities.” Betty, Blanche and Dorothy talked about the first times they had sex. There even was a reference to a horse. Of course, you also can’t shush Sophia. Dorothy asked Blanche how long she waited after George died to have personal relations with another man.

Sophia quipped “until the ambulance man came.” The Golden Girls tweaked the scene to include references to London. The women decided they wanted to go sight see. Blanche cracked that one of the King’s Guard in front of Buckingham Palace left his boots in her hotel room. And Sophia talked about how being in your 80s didn’t preclude you from going out on the town.

“Just ask that fine looking lady up there in the expensive seats,” Sophia said as she looked towards the Queen Mum.

The beloved Betty White, who died Dec. 31 at age 99, offered some details about the time the Golden Girls met the Queen Mum. Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s only daughter, accompanied her grandmother.

“It was very exciting. The Queen was lovely,” White told a Reddit AMA audience in 2017. “We were told not to address her unless we were addressed. She was up in a box and she came down on stage after with Princess Anne.”

White included this royal anecdote in her memoir. She wrote the “ladies all dropped a small curtsy as she approached. I happened to be the last one in our foursome, and after she greeted Bea and Rue and Estelle, as she got to me, she indicated the scantily clad Rockettes behind us and said to me, “Aren’t they beautiful girls?” I curtsied, and replied, “Yes, and such lovely bodies.” She lit up with a radiant smile that belied her eighty-six years and replied, “Oh, yes. Lovely bawdies.”

The Queen Mum and Princess Anne weren’t the only royals who were Golden Girls fans. So was Princess Diana. British actress Cleo Rocos recalled how Diana, and Freddie Mercury turned down the volume when the series came on, then made up “naughtier” story lines.

So here’s to the Golden Girls and their royal fans. May they laugh through eternity.