We all know that Queen Elizabeth II graced Pakistan with her presence in 1997 to be part of the country’s 50th Independence Day anniversary celebrations. But would you believe that she haggled over the price of a carpet. Well, she did.
Speaking to BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil, former Punjab governor Shahid Hamid narrated the story of when Her Majesty went carpet shopping in Pakistan. The former governor had then called in two of the top carpet manufacturers in the country and had 15 to 20 carpets placed on the floor for her inspection.
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“She looked at the carpets, and you know it was amazing, she immediately took off her shoes, and in her stockinged feet, she walked over each carpet. I was fascinated, I didn’t know this, but she explained that was the way you could tell the feel of the pile on the carpet, that’s how you could judge the quality. And then she came to one particular one that she was obviously interested in.”
Having decided which one she wanted, the Queen asked Hamid to ask for its price, which he did, quoting it to her in British currency. However, upon hearing the price, she looked at him and said, “Governor, can we haggle?” Laughing, Hamid recounted how he had replied, “Ma’am, I’ll get you a royal discount.”
The ex-governor’s wife Sarwat Hamid, who was the Queen’s lady-in-waiting at the time, also talked about her impression of the Queen and said, “She had this wonderful ability to put anyone completely at ease. She was so natural, she was so genuine and so sincere, and her interest in everything, including my family, life of politicians here, even though we were not in politics.”
Hamid narrated another incident during the Queen's stay when she had been taken to tour the National College of Arts. According to the programme, she was supposed to be taken back to the car and driven to the Governor’s House, but as she was getting in the car, she noticed a very large number of people gathered on the other side of the road. She then asked if they could walk across to the road.
“She walked across it and interacted with that crowd. She was absolutely not concerned about the security,” he said.
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Sarwat further remembered how the figure of the Queen was very real to the older generation. "And to actually see her and know that she has come all this way out as part of our 50th anniversary of the Independence of Pakistan, that struck a chord with people.”
Queen Elizabeth II became Britain's longest-reigning monarch on September 9 when she passed the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
This article originally appeared on BBC
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