Queen Elizabeth II: Simon Cowell tells Jimmy Kimmel about the time he met the monarch: ‘In awe’

By | September 9, 2022

“America’s Got Talent” judge Simon Cowell on Thursday remembered the time he met Queen Elizabeth 15 years ago, saying he was “in awe” of the monarch when their paths crossed, but she had “no idea” who he was. 

Cowell met the queen in 2007 at the Royal Variety Performance, an annual event that the royal family attends and during which the winner of that year’s “Britain’s Got Talent” performed. 

“On that night the queen was there, so I went along and fortunately got to meet her backstage, I mean, it was amazing,” he said. 

The reality star recounted the meeting during his interview with Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday. He was one of the first people on the late-night show after the news of the queen’s death broke. 


Kimmel asked Cowell if he remembered his conversation with the late monarch to which he laughed and replied, “No, she didn’t talk to me. She had no idea who I was actually.”

Cowell said he was “in awe because you’re told what to say or what not to say more importantly, blah, blah, blah. But it’s like, my God, I’ve actually met the queen. It was amazing.”

Kimmel joked that he couldn’t imagine Cowell, who is known for being outspoken, staying quiet if told not to say something. 

The former “American Idol” judge said, “on that night I was very well-behaved.” 

He said, although he was sure the queen hadn’t watched any of his British talent shows, Prince Harry was a fan of “The X Factor” and “used to hang out in my dressing room and watch the show.” He called Harry the “sweetest, nicest guy.”

Kimmel joked, “Did they not have cable at the palace?” 

Cowell told Kimmel he didn’t think he’d be invited to the queen’s funeral after the American host asked him if he thought he might be as a “prominent Brit.”

“If I got the invite, yes, of course, I’d go but no they’re not going to invite me, Jimmy,” he said. 

Kimmel asked if Cowell could ask to be invited. “Is he rude to put in a call?” 


Cowell replied, “You don’t ask to go to a funeral, you have to be invited,” Cowell replied. 

“I don’t know what the protocol is, I’m not British,” Kimmel joked. 

“While we’re on TV, I’ll go, please, if you invite me, but I don’t think I will [be invited],” Cowell said. 

Earlier in his monologue, Kimmel mentioned the queen’s passing, calling her Britain’s “rock” and joking the closest thing the U.S. has to a “rock” like the late monarch is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

“After all those years, this week she saw Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine and said ‘Ok! I’ve had enough.’ So we send positive thoughts to our friends in the U.K. and also to the American aunts who are obsessed with the royal family for reasons I will never understand,” he joked, mentioning a video from the Venice Film Festival that looked to some as if Styles had expectorated in Pine’s direction. A rep for Styles has denied it. 

Cowell wrote a tribute to the queen on his Twitter Thursday, saying he was “incredibly sad” to hear of her passing. 

“With incredible strength she was someone who loved her country and was able to lead with so much love. I feel very lucky that in my lifetime we have had a Monarch who managed to balance great leadership, tradition and progression. I would like to send my respects to her family during this time.” 

In 2009, two years after the royal meeting, Cowell claimed the queen had “ignored” him, Marie Claire reported, which Buckingham Palace denied at the time. 

‘It was actually embarrassing,” Cowell told Jay Leno in 2009. “She came on at the end of the show. She ignored me and her husband called me a sponger. It was a bit awkward.”

The palace said at the time: “The Queen had to meet a huge line-up of people at the performance and can’t engage every person at every event. But she doesn’t ignore people.”

The queen died at 96 on Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.