FIT FOR A QUEEN: However regal and dignified Queen Elizabeth II is, Her Royal Highness also has an unexpected playful side, according to Sally Bedell Smith, whose “Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch,” which hits stores Tuesday. Apparently, the Queen has been known to blow bubbles at a chum’s birthday party, watch the violent mating of her thoroughbred horses without flinching and uses a toolkit to decorate diamond tiaras with pearls, emeralds, sapphires and rubies, according to Smith. And Her Majesty isn’t above crawling on her stomach to stalk stags in the Scottish Highlands and she once served lunch to an American friend at Windsor Castle buffet style before clearing the table herself. The royal spent days caring for a young cousin who was severely injured in a terrorist attack.

“She is cozy, lively, funny, compassionate, spontaneous and even earthy: sitting on a box on a remote Scottish island and belting out songs with her family,” Smith said.

This story first appeared in the January 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Wheee!” was said to be Queen Elizabeth’s reaction after seeing Manhattan for the first time. Smith will offer other insider-ish tales about the queen with Peggy Noonan Wednesday night at Barnes & Noble’s East 86th Street store in Manhattan. Earlier in the day, the Vanity Fair contributor will talk about her Random House book at 92YTribeca.

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