The Queen allowed Nelson Mandela to get away with greeting her by her first name as the pair hit it off from the start. Royal author Robert Hardman revealed that their friendship lasted well beyond the former South African president’s time in office. Speaking to BBC News, Mr Hardman said: “One of her great friendships is with Nelson Mandela, they absolutely hit it off from the start and that was a friendship which lasted his entire time in office and well beyond.
“He was the only world head of state who could get away with calling her Elizabeth.
“On one occasion he greeted her, not long after he ceased being president and he arrived and said, ‘Elizabeth, you’ve lost weight’.
“No one else ever said that but she thought that was wonderful.
“He could simply get away with whatever he wanted.”
READ MORE: Princess Beatrice’s stepson Wolfie in heartbreaking remark
The revelation comes as the Queen’s life of service and devotion to others has been praised by the former Archbishop of York who suggested she had modelled her reign on self sacrifice.
Lord Sentamu paid tribute to the Queen during the annual Commonwealth Day service, given added poignancy as the head state was missing from the major event in the royal calendar.
In his address to the Westminster Abbey congregation, which included senior royals, the peer said: “And so for 70 years the Queen has modelled her reign on the one who said ‘whoever shall be great among you shall be your servant and whoever desires to be first shall be a slave of all’.”
The former Archbishop, who now sits in the Lords, went on to say: “The Christian ideals of the love of neighbour and compassion have given shape to the Queen’s leadership.”
Lord Sentamu made the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge laugh when at the end of his speech he urged the congregation to cheer the monarch after he said the words “hip, hip, hip”.
The first time he got a lacklustre response but she repeated it again and the third time Westminster Abbey rang out with a “hoorah” with William and Kate chuckling.
In her message to mark Commonwealth Day, the Queen said she hoped the family of nations “can draw strength and inspiration from what we share” during these “testing times”.
Now in the 70th year of her reign, the 95-year-old monarch said it had made her happy, during her Platinum Jubilee year, to reaffirm the pledge she made in 1947 as a 21-year-old to devote her life in service to the nation and Commonwealth.
Prince Harry book: Kate set to be ‘disrespected’ as concerns raised [INSIGHT]
Prince Harry getting ‘bad advice’ over security demands [ANALYSIS]
Worrying reason why Queen missing Commonwealth Day service [VIDEO]
She sounded a positive note, extolling the virtues of the Commonwealth which “continues to be a point of connection, co-operation and friendship”.
Her written message to the family of nations’ 2.5 billion citizens was released just ahead of the Westminster Abbey service marking Commonwealth Day, attended by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and hundreds of dignitaries and young people.
The Queen told the Commonwealth: “Our family of nations continues to be a point of connection, co-operation, and friendship.
“It is a place to come together to pursue common goals and the common good, providing everyone with the opportunity to serve and benefit.
“In these testing times, it is my hope that you can draw strength and inspiration from what we share, as we work together towards a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future for all.”