Eliza Thompson, 30, is a senior entertainment editor at Cosmopolitan.com, and took on the seemingly simple assignment of living like a queen for a week.
Thompson had a “more than casual” interest in the British royal family, and accepted the challenge on the condition that she would be given corgis like Her Majesty. “I was assigned the project after making a bunch of jokes about how I’d like to christen a ship in my name,” she said.
With Queen Elizabeth II as the inspiration, Thompson set out to take on the royal’s daily tasks for seven days.
Throughout the week, Thompson would dress like the queen, partake in photo shoots, have a portrait done, and dive into many of her go-to activities. And after meeting with royal expert Robert Lacey, Thompson came away with plenty of tidbits about the queen’s lifestyle to get her started.
On day one, Thompson planned to sit for an official portrait inspired by Queen Elizabeth II’s royal portrait by Pietro Annigoni.
She enlisted the help of a fellow writer and editor Jon Roth to take photos and hopefully paint the portrait for her.
For the test photos, Thompson wrote that “The winning combination was a deep red curtain worn as a cape, a blue bedsheet draped over my legs like a dress, some plastic gold chains, and a faux-fur collar of mysterious origin.”
However, with her busy schedule as the “Queen Eliza” with a day job, Thompson couldn’t find the time to go out and buy the supplies needed for Roth to actually paint the portrait.
As she explained, “It’s hard to be the Queen when you have a full-time job and have no assistants to run your errands — but I did buy Jon a beer that night, so I guess that still makes me his patron.”
Even so, the experiment continued on. On day two, Thompson set her sights on testing out two of Her Majesty’s reported favorites: a gin and dubonnet cocktail and watching soap operas.
And while Thompson enjoyed the tv-watching portion of the evening, the queen’s choice in cocktails left her less than pleased. “It was, in a word, disgusting,” she wrote.
The activities of day three involved “frolicking with corgis.” As Thompson knew before agreeing to the experiment, the corgis were a necessity in her exploits as a queen for a week.
“The Queen’s love for corgis is legendary, and although the photo team couldn’t get real dogs for me, they ordered two very nice plush ones instead,” she wrote.
After going for a walk and posing with her plush corgis, Thompson decided to bring them back to the office for a day as her royal helpers.
The following day, Queen Eliza Thompson took horseback riding lessons. Queen Elizabeth II has been riding horses for her entire life, and still does at the age of 91.
Thompson, on the other hand, had never ridden a horse. The results were as expected, with Thompson audibly terrified for most of the day. But her report turned out to be somewhat positive, stating that she may actually want to go again one day.
Day five was for walking in nature, something which according to Lacey, Queen Elizabeth II enjoys from time to time. So Thompson went out into the nature of New York City and posed in Central Park with her corgis.
Queen Eliza said it was on that day that she began to see the downsides to being royally famous and “having your picture taken in public when you’re not feeling it.”
The next day was the day for “leisure photography,” when Thompson said she got to live her “best Queen life.” She took herself to a museum and snapped a few pictures of an exhibit of David Hockney, who was given the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.
I Lived Like Queen Elizabeth for a Week https://t.co/ieOsLDfkou pic.twitter.com/YNPEGlF8kX
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) December 20, 2017
The final day of the assignment was supposed to be a visit to a horse race. However, with the cold weather conditions, Queen Eliza opted for her backup-activity. She began to study the constitution in an effort to learn about “her” government.
After about 30 minutes, though, she reported that her “eyes glazed over from boredom,” but that she “did retain a few facts.”
When the week of living like royalty ended, Thompson said she better understood how difficult it must be to be the queen.
“The biggest lesson is that it’s hard to be a ceremonial figurehead when you have to go to work every day, but I also learned that I don’t want to be a ceremonial figurehead, even if it means I get to have a pack of corgis,” Thompson said.
And when asked if she would enjoy the royal lifestyle, she responded, “I don’t think I would enjoy being a real royal, no. Too many photographs and too many hats!”
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