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Tuesday, 12 March, 2002, 15:13 GMT
Queen's stab at humour
Queen Elizabeth brandishing dagger-style letter opener
One is highly amused. The Queen's joke threw her audience off track
The Queen pretended to be a murderer and stabbed an imaginary victim with a dagger-shaped letter opener she was given as a present.

Startled onlookers watched as, for a joke, Queen Elizabeth transformed the slender blade - a gift to mark her Golden Jubilee - into a menacing stiletto.

Gripping the knife in a tightly-clenched fist, eyes wide and focused on her imaginary prey, the monarch struck a murderous pose.

Amused

It was left to the highly-amused audience of Commonwealth parliamentarians and other dignitaries to guess who the Queen had in mind.

The letter opener was a gift from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

It was presented to help her with the extra mail she is expected to receive during her Jubilee year, marking 50 years on the throne and as Head of the Commonwealth.

Opening the London conference, the Queen said: "The Commonwealth and the world have of course both changed immensely in the last 50 years.

"I have no doubt that there will be enormous changes, too, over the coming years."

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