She was the longest reigning monarch in Great Britain. She ruled continuously for seventy years. During her reign, office was held by seven popes, fourteen US presidents and fifteen British prime ministers. Despite the enormous challenges posed by the crown, Elizabeth II quickly became known as the one who can find herself in any situation. She was the target of numerous attacks, visited many countries, and made historical visits. In her private life, she faced several disappointments, but during her reign she made only two mistakes, which she could not forgive herself until the very end….
The Windsor family drama
She was only ten when she succeeded the throne and just under 26 when she became queen. Few thought she would be a monarch so long that most Britons would not remember England before her reign. When it took over the crown in 1952, it gradually and successively gained more and more popularity and respect of its citizens. Swearing loyalty and full devotion to the crown, she kept her word. And it wasn’t easy. Her relatives put her to the test many times.
Princess Elizabeth in 1936
Photo: Lisa Sheridan / Stringer / Getty Images / Ofeminin
Only a few months after the coronation, she had to deal with a scandal involving her sister. Princess Margaret then asked the Queen to support her relationship with the horse, Peter Townsend. Elizabeth II, as the head of the Anglican Church, could not consent to the wedding of the princess and the divorcee. The monarchs were even discouraged from trying to engage in the subject, explaining that her reign would then begin with a real scandal. So Elizabeth only advised Małgorzata not to get married for two years. Then, according to the regulations on royal marriages in force from 1772, Margaret would be 25 years old and would not need the queen’s consent to marry.
After all, it is not known to this day whether the feeling of the princess burned out, or whether the lovers simply decided to part ways, but one thing is certain – this event made the media a bit closer to the private life of Elizabeth II.
Princess Margaret’s romance with the horse was supposed to put her at odds with her sister. In the picture. queen and princess in 1973
Photo: Evening Standard / Stringer / Getty Images / Ofeminin
Betrayals that could be covered up
And there was no need to wait for the next scandals. This time, the target of press attacks was Prince Philip, who was openly suspected of numerous treason. There were reports of his participation in decadent parties with photographer Boon Nahum, where the guests were served by waitresses wearing only aprons. “Philip has romances, and the queen has learned to tolerate it. He especially loves young, beautiful aristocrats,” biographer Sarah Bradford wrote directly.
Although nothing has ever been proven to the prince, the group of his alleged lovers included, inter alia, a dancer specializing in belly dancing, a Greek cabaret star or a famous actress, “The Queen gives Philip a lot of freedom. Her father once said:” Remember, he is a sailor. Such people come with the wave “” – it was written. The monarchini did not comment on these reports. She didn’t seem to be taking them seriously, but maybe she was just hoping that they would subside over time. This tactic then paid off, but a dozen or so years later, in 1992, Elizabeth II was unable to remain silent about the actions of her loved ones and admitted openly that it was “the worst year of her life”.
Despite scandals and misunderstandings, Prince Philip always remained at his wife’s side. In the picture. together in 1976
Photo: Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images / Ofeminin
1992, the worst year in the life of Queen Elizabeth II
Within twelve months, all the personal troubles of the royal family, who had so far tried to protect their private face, came to light. In March 1992, the palace issued a statement revealing that the Duke and Duchess of York were separating. A month later, an almost identical statement was made by the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anna, who decided to end her marriage with Mark Philips. In June, Andrew Morton’s book “Diana. A True Story” was released, which shocked the image of the Windsor and revealed shocking details about their private lives. If that was not enough, in November of the same year a fire broke out in the chapel of Windsor Castle, damaging a hundred chambers, and less than four weeks after the fire, the Palace was forced to announce the separation of Charles and Diana.
No wonder that the monarch summed up the year 1992 with the words “annus horribilis”. It is said that it was then that she realized that even being queen, she had no influence on what was going on in the family. Fortunately, the crown and domination was what she was able to fully control. This is how she won the hearts of her subjects – that they could always count on her. She adhered to the etiquette in all situations, and it was extremely rare for her to stumble. In her reign, however, she regretted two situations …
The monarchy regretted these two things
According to numerous biographies, if the Queen could turn back time, she would have acted completely differently after the disaster that occurred in October 1966 in the town of Aberfan, Wales. On that day, the Pantglas Junior school building was covered with an avalanche of soaked mass of coal and mud. During the tragic event, 144 people died, including 116 students. During the eight-day rescue operation, only a few students were saved.
Princess Margaret’s husband, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, and the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, quickly arrived, but all waited for Elizabeth II to arrive. The monarch, however, decided to stay in London. According to the press at the time, the Queen did not want to distract from the situation with her arrival at the scene, but her behavior was interpreted as a reluctance to unite with the nation. Elizabeth was accused of being dry and not knowing what compassion was. She finally arrived in Aberfan eight days later at the urging of counselors and family members. Years later, she told her personal secretary that she felt sorry for her late reaction.
Queen’s late reaction to Diana’s death
Elizabeth II’s second mistake was to be overly rigidly attached to the protocol after Diana’s death. The British could not come to terms with the departure of the beloved queen of human hearts, and the lack of reaction from the palace only increased their dislike of the Windsor. The monarchs at the time adhered to the rules of the protocol. She refused to lower the flag at Buckingham Palace half-mast and did not comment on the event. She also decided to support her grandchildren – Harry and William – after the loss of her mother during this difficult time at Balmoral Castle, instead of showing sympathy for the British in the streets of London. Finally, in order to repair the mood of her subjects, rebuild her image and end reports of her restraint, she yielded to the persuasion of her advisors and came to London.
The monarch did not know what to do after Diana died. Years later she admitted her mistake. In the picture. with Prince Philip on September 6, 1997
Photo: John Shelley Collection / Avalon / Contributor / Getty Images / Ofeminin
Just before Diana’s funeral, she gave a touching speech, full of warmth and love: “Today I speak to you not only as a queen, but also as a grandmother. Diana was exceptional. She never lost her optimism, always smiled. She inspired others with her warmth and kindness”, she admitted in speech.
Her speech was widely commented on, as everyone was counting on a tear in the eye of the queen. However, this one did not appear, but Elizabeth II with dignity and seriousness kept up the encouragement of her grandchildren in the following days. According to biographers, the monarch often recalled that she unnecessarily clung to the protocol so tightly then and allowed herself to make small concessions in the later years of her reign. After all, today it is thanks to her that Meghan, the wife of Prince Harry, who has a failed marriage, or Camilla, now the Queen Consort, joined the members of the Windsor family.
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