During her reign as monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has aimed to be as unpolitical and uninvolved in the scandals that surrounded her as possible. Should the Queen make more of an effort to be involved to lead our nation in the 21st century? Or should she remain our stoic and reserved Head of State?
In the fourth episode of The Royal View, The Palace Puppet Masters, Tim Vincent and guests examine the moment the Queen famously broke her own rules by speaking out about the death of Princess Diana. The incident is discussed by a panel including former editor of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie, New York Times best selling royal author Lady Colin Campbell, Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton and Royal historian, Tessa Dunlop.
Kelvin MacKenzie reflects on how monumental and unprecedented the Queen’s speech reflecting on Diana’s life was.
He says, “For the first time you had the monarch effectively apologising to the nation over anything. When had that happened before? She always sat above it; if there was a row it disappeared and if it got bigger some minor Royal would go out and say something small. But for the Queen to tip her hat and say perhaps I should have acted faster…it was astonishing.”
The panel unanimously agree that this speech was a turning point in the public’s perception of the Royal Family. Previously, the public had turned from blaming the paparazzi for Diana’s death to focus on the Royal Family’s hostile and passive role towards her after the divorce. The Queen’s speech shifted the public’s stance once more.
Lady Colin Campbell claims that the Queen’s delayed decision to make the speech was an attempt to ‘put her grandchildren’s interests first’. Lady Colin describes Princes Harry and William as ‘a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old who had just lost their mother, and the Royal Family decided to carry on as normal to give the children a sense of normality.’
Andrew Morton acknowledges Lady Colin Campbell’s point that this was a key reason for the eventual, if extremely belated, apology from the monarch. The Royals needed to be seen as a family that could function while acknowledging the death of one of its most beloved members.
“They were very concerned about the boys,” says Morton. “I remember Prince Philip interrupted a conversation with Tony Blair and his advisers to say ‘we’ve got Prince William up the hill and he won’t come down, that’s what we’ve got to try and sort out.’”
The Queen realised that for the Royal Family to be a cohesive one and survive in the 21st century, an admission that they could have done more to help Diana was vital.
For more Royal discussion and debate make sure you watch The Royal View, only on True Royalty TV.
The Royal View is a brand new talk show that aims to separate the fact from the fiction about the British Royal Family, past and present. The series features a wide range of guests, including Royal Family insiders, historians, biographers and well-connected Royal journalists.
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