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As embarrassing moments go, calling the Queen "mummy" has to be right up there.
But that's exactly what happened to one former Arsenal ace when the Gunners squad visited Buckingham Palace in 2007. The north Londoners were invited to Buck House for afternoon tea with Queen Elizabeth II after she was forced to pull out of the opening of their Emirates Stadium.
The Queen made up for her no-show by inviting the entire Arsenal squad to her home for afternoon tea later that season. The visit went about as well as you might expect for a group of stars more accustomed to changing rooms than the changing of the guard.
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Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes Fanzone, former Gunners ace Emmanuel Eboue revealed how he accidentally called the Queen "mummy" and offered to quit the beautiful game to look after her corgis.
"My team-mates know me very well, and so before we'd even got to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen, I was being told 'Emmanuel, you have to stop'," he said. "I said 'stop what?!'
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"I hadn't done anything, and yet everyone was telling me to stop. They knew I was probably going to do something. Where we are going… the palace, we are going to see the Queen.
"Everyone was telling me because they knew something was going to happen. Even David Dein. He came to me and just said 'please, Emmanuel, please, stop.'
What followed proves that Eboue's team-mates – and David Dein – were probably right to caution the Ivory Coast international before he set foot in the royal residence.
"So we get to the palace, and we had to wait inside a different room before the Queen came to see us. That wasn't a problem. And then I saw Thierry Henry, Jens Lehmann and Dennis Bergkamp all talking, and I knew they were talking about me. After a few minutes, I saw the Queen's dogs – the corgis – and they came straight over to me.
"Me being me, I was stroking them and joking around with them – and again, my team-mates say to me 'you've got to stop this Emmanuel – please!' The dogs came to me! I have to show them that I love them!"
"So I was playing with them, and a few minutes later the Queen walked in. She came and spoke to each one of us. I just thought 'today is going to be a funny day', and so when she came to me, I could already see my teammates looking at me."
And that was when Eboue made his brilliant faux pas.
"I just said to the Queen: 'Hi, mummy!' That's what I said, 'hi mummy!' I asked how she was, she laughed and said she was OK. 'And you, my son?!' she said. She was talking to me!
"I told her I wanted to stop playing football, to which she asked why. I want to look after your corgis. I want to wash them. go out with them, play with them, I want to stop playing football."
"She was laughing a lot, and so were my team-mates. I just wanted to make her happy. My teammates afterwards said I was a legend for doing that, for making the queen laugh."
Unfortunately for Eboue, he didn't manage to follow through with his offer to quit the beautiful game
"My kids still talk to me about it today. 'Dad, we saw the pictures of you with the king and the queen!'
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