An unmemorable year for British royalty - GulfToday

An unmemorable year for British royalty

Queen 1

The outgoing year was filled with disappointments for Queen Elizabeth II.

It has not been a very pleasant year for the British royal family, something that was admitted by Queen Elizabeth II. The queen’s statement that 2019 was “quitebumpy” is noteworthy. The admission came in a Christmas message at the end of a chaotic year which saw Britain locked in a Brexit drama, something which has been hogging the headlines for months, and her scandal-plagued son Prince Andrew withdraw from public life.

The year was filled with disappointments for the queen – a formal figure in British public life who assumed the throne in 1952 and is loved by much of the nation.

The year got off to a bad start when Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip, 98, was involved in a car accident near the family’s Sandringham estate in eastern England in January.

The Duke of Edinburgh escaped unhurt. Two days after the incident he was warned by police after he was pictured driving without wearing a seat belt.

Then there was a calamitous BBC interview in which her second son Andrew tried to distance himself from American paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew promised to “step back from public duties” after his denial of having physical relations with one of Epstein’s alleged victims. He was roundly ridiculed in the UK media and reportedly criticised in Buckingham Palace.

The queen found herself embarrassingly embroiled in political wrangling over Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Her suspension of parliament in September, at the behest of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was ruled unlawful by Britain’s Supreme Court, putting her in the middle of a political and constitutional crisis.

While she had no option but to act as the premier requested, the Cassandras said it made the monarchy look feeble. Republicans said it showed the institution was pointless.

Royal commentators said the queen’s use of the word “bumpy” marked her most candid admission of turmoil since her headline-grabbing description of 1992 as an “annus horribilis”.

The marriages of three of her children fell apart and her beloved Windsor Castle nearly went up in flames in that “horrible year”.

There were also rumours that the queen was not happy with her grandson Prince Harry and his American former actress wife Meghan Markle.

The young couple made waves by speaking out about their struggle with life in the public eye and then suing three British newspapers for prying into their private lives.

Their picture was notably absent from the collection of family photographs on the queen’s desk in her televised address.

The birth of the queen’s eighth great-grandchild Archie to Harry and Meghan in May should have been a moment of celebration for the royal family but it was overshadowed by an increasingly hostile row between the glamorous, popular couple and the media.

They were hauled up for their use of private jets while promoting environmental causes and the 2.4-million pound ($3.08 million) renovation of their new home.

In March, Harry and Meghan split up the team of staff and aides they had shared with older brother William and his wife Kate. In October Harry confirmed that there had been a rift, without going into details.

William was reported by the BBC to be worried about his younger brother and his wife who were thought to be in a “fragile place”.

The only good news for the queen in all this perhaps seems to be the discharge of her husband Prince Philip from a London hospital after a four-night stay in time to join the royal family for Christmas.

Despite all the negative coverage, the queen has remained one of Britain’s most popular figures.

A poll by YouGov in November showed 72 per cent of respondents had a positive opinion of the monarch.

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