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What happened when leading celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz—a bold artist known to throw fits when the prop baby DHL'd to her Vanity Fair cover shoot doesn't meet her exacting specifications—was assigned to shoot a legendarily frigid monarch? Things got tense, especially when the portraitist suggested to the Queen of England that she remove her crown, and BBC cameras were there to capture the entire exchange. From The Times Online:

The Queen arrived in white fur stole, gold-embroidered evening dress, Order of the Garter robes and diamond tiara, as requested. But Leibovitz, a perfectionist who once persuaded Whoopi Goldberg to pose in a bath of milk, had a change of heart.

"I think it will look better without the crown," the film shows her informing the Queen. "Less dressy. The garter robe is so . . . extraordinary."

"Less dressy?" the Queen says in response to this display of lãse-majesté. "What do you think this is?"

The Queen is then shown walking angrily from the drawing room. "I'm not changing anything," she fumes at a flunky. "I've had enough of dressing like this, thank you very much."

Leibovitz's unorthodox requests might seem to traditionalists an outrageous breach of deference to the sovereign, who was left with no option but to drop her royal poker face and allow the documentary cameras to capture a rare glimpse of her legendary temper. Still, it's best the Queen didn't hold her tongue, as she might have ended up throwing up a far more dramatic fit later, when, after examining some unflattering test Polaroids, Leibovitz asked how she'd feel about "losing the robes completely and trying one in the altogether, maybe with Philip curled up against you in the royal bed or something?"

[Photo: BBC]