Flashback Friday: Do You Remember When ‘The Golden Girls’ Cast Performed for the Royal Family?
Apparently, the Queen was a big fan of the cheesecake-loving gals.
The Golden Girls, the cultural bastion of female empowerment and appointment television, stole the heart of millions during the ‘80s and early ‘90s. In fact, thanks to the never-ending reruns of the beloved sitcom on the Hallmark Channel, viewers are still singing the catchy theme song and championing the four best friends today. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia made audiences laugh, think, and, obviously, hungry with all those cheesecake scenes. But little did we know, the most fabulous seniors to ever grace our TV screens were also a source of entertainment for the royal family as well.
The Queen Mother, who died at the age of 101 in 2002, was, reportedly, charmed by the Miami foursome and all their Southern sassiness and snark. So much so, that her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, extended an invitation across the pond for the cast to enact a few scenes for the 1988 Royal Variety Performance. The talented ensemble had the distinct honor of being one of only two American acts requested, at the Queen's behest, to perform. The Rockettes, the legendary precision dance company founded in St. Louis, Missouri, were the other American performers on the lineup that night.
Betty White, the actress who played the sweet and impossibly naive Rose on the show, described the royal encounter in her 2010 memoir, Here We Go Again: My Life in Television. She also answered a fan's question pertaining to the Queen Mother in a 2014 Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) discussion. When asked for details on the live performance in the Reddit thread, White wrote the following:
In her book, White gave readers a first-hand account on the cast's interaction with the Queen Mother.
"The ladies all dropped a small curtsy as she approached," White explained. "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.'"
As far as what the cast actually performed, their seven-minute reenactment was far more mild and tame than what viewers were normally treated to when the show originally aired. The four women were careful to omit certain jokes so as not to offend the royal family members in the audience. According to Mental Floss, Dorothy and the rest of the gang adapted two of their celebrated kitchen table scenes for the stage that night, leaving a lasting impression on the royals in attendance. The Queen Mother even "chuckled heartily" at Sophia’s witty yet racy one-liner, "until the paramedics came," where Sophia estimated how long Blanche would wait to have sex after her husband died.
You can relive the performance the Queen Mother gave her royal seal of approval to in the video below:
WATCH: Golden Girls Pumpkins
Of course, we could wax poetic on the amazingness of these funny Southern gals all day. But we’re pleased to know that even queens can appreciate great jokes and cheesecake every now and then.