Elizabeth II: 1992, annus horribilis

Elizabeth II wearing poppies in her buttonhole, on the traditional Remembrance Sunday, in front of the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Tim Graham/Getty Images

SPECIAL ISSUE (7/9) - After Andrew and Sarah, Charles and Diana are about to announce their separation. And finally, a fire devastates Windsor Castle!

The fire broke out in the Queen's private chapel at Windsor Castle. Prince Andrew, who was spending the weekend there, organized a chain with staff to save anything that could be saved as firefighters worked to put out the blaze. They will dump a million and a half gallons before they can bring the fire under control.

When she learns of the disaster, Elizabeth feels devastated. As soon as she can, she goes to Windsor. Pale, her face closed, the queen roams the salons alongside Prince Philip. Brunswick Tower, where she was staying with Margaret and their governesses during the war, is destroyed. The dining room where they took their meals with the young officers of the guard is only ruin and ashes. His hands are shaking. But no one sees it, she hides them in the pockets of her raincoat. The Prince of Wales passed, but he quickly left to go on a hunt. Anne and Edward did not consider it necessary to move. His Majesty will not blame them. What's the point ?

READ THE FILE : Death of Queen Elizabeth II, a rock and a symbol for England

A deep sadness grips him. She's a little cold. Elizabeth especially feels very tired. The year has been particularly trying. Scandals, family dramas followed one another. And the press has continued to interfere in the affairs of the heart, or rather the stories of sleeping young Windsor. Disgusting! Anne, already separated from her husband, divorced her. Sarah Ferguson, who had married Andrew in 1986, was soon baptized " Duchess Do-Little because she balks at obligations. Worse, she accepts gifts, asks everywhere for a free pass and gets paid for her interviews in the press. But that was just the start. After giving two daughters to the Duke of York, Fergie appeared with lovers. Finally, in August 1992, the queen, infuriated, dismissed her daughter-in-law from Balmoral after the publication of indecent pictures in the DailyMirror.

The couple of the Prince and Princess of Wales has also broken up. Diana let her “ true story in which she obviously participated. She appears there as the victim of a husband determined to impose on her, from the first days, a threesome. She boldly denies any responsibility for this publication, but Elizabeth is obviously not fooled. She barely speaks to him anymore. Neither do other family members. Advised by her friends and communication experts, Diana chose the attack.

She presents herself as a victim, claiming to want only one thing, to be the queen of hearts. Clever, she defends all " good causes », is illustrated in the humanitarian and requires a legal separation with title and annuity. Its popularity is immense. She knew how to build it, consolidate it, make a bulwark of it. That of Charles is at its lowest. He passes for a boor. Elizabeth would like to buy time, but she knows that the separation is now inevitable. The main thing for her is to preserve her grandsons, William and Harry, should we go through Diana's conditions to avoid further unpacking.
Elizabeth scoops, clogs. She fights so that her children do not capsize her reign with their sordid adulteries and their war by intermediary media. As if they had not understood, these " burnt heads », that the tabloids think only of profiting from their indecent confessions, especially those of the group of Rupert Murdoch, this proclaimed anti-monarchist Australian.

On the way back to London, aware of his wife's dark thoughts, the Duke of Edinburgh arranges the blanket around her legs himself. She looks at him. He alone manages to calm her when the storm roars. They drive in silence. Sentences are unnecessary. They know that, tomorrow, they will have to face a new controversy over the cost of repairs to Windsor Castle. It belongs to the state, but the press will of course take up the cause of the taxpayers.

The year 1992, during which the United Kingdom celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the accession to the throne of Elizabeth II, was decidedly a very bad vintage. The queen whispers: Annus horribilis. This is not a year I will look back on with undivided pleasure. Philip burst out laughing. He advises his wife to use this understatement in her next speech. At the Guildhall in London.

This article is taken from Figaro Special Edition “Elisabeth II, The Last Queen”.

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