The 79-year-old actor revealed on The Graham Norton Show that he and Dench were mischief makers when they attended a dinner at the palace. After the banquet, the pair roamed the halls of Queen Elizabeth‘s official London residence and found themselves listening to music in a “vaguely familiar” room.
“We had a little twirl around the room, nobody else there, and I said, ‘I think this is the throne room,’ ” he explained, recalling that it was where he was given a knighthood in 1991 and Dench was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1988.
When McKellen and Dench realized the monarch’s famous seat was nowhere in sight, they decided to do some exploring.
“We went on dancing around the corner, and we found ourselves behind the band, and there behind this sort of partition was the thrones…so we sat on them,” the star revealed.
He then joked, “It brings out the worst in you, Buckingham Palace.”
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On another occasion, McKellen was taking part in an event at Buckingham Palace and realized his dressing room was near the building’s iconic balcony — so he decided to step outside and smoke a cigarette.
“I’m there looking down The Mall and suddenly there’s a minor search light,” he recalled. “Below is a policeman saying, ‘Sir Ian, don’t forget you’re in Buckingham Palace.’ ”
McKellan’s mischievous ways have earned him a reputation with the security staff.
“After six months later, I’m going along to get a medal on this occasion, and as we came through the gates, there was the same policeman. He said, ‘Oh, not you two again!’ ” the actor said with a laugh.