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Queen Elizabeth 'feared a new setback around every corner'

Britain's Queen Elizabeth speaks during an audience where she met the incoming and outgoing Defence Service Secretaries at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, February 16, 2022. Picture: Steve Parsons/Pool via Reuters

Britain's Queen Elizabeth speaks during an audience where she met the incoming and outgoing Defence Service Secretaries at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, February 16, 2022. Picture: Steve Parsons/Pool via Reuters

Published Mar 7, 2022

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Queen Elizabeth suffered a series of setbacks during the 90s, and she feared a new problem would appear "round every corner".

The 95-year-old monarch suffered a series of setbacks in the 90s, including Prince Charles' divorce from Princess Diana and a fire at Windsor Castle - and it took her a long time to overcome a sense of dread.

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In “Queen Of Our Times: The Life Of Elizabeth II” - extracts of which have been published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper - Charles Anson, who was a royal press secretary at the time, explained: "It took a long time to get rid of that sense that, round every corner, lay a new problem."

Princess Diana died in a car accident in August 1997, at the age of 36.

And the Queen played a crucial role in the royal family's response to the tragedy.

Lord Airlie, the Earl of Airlie, told Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Ross and his colleagues at the time: "I said, 'The one thing is this – don't look at a file. This has to be de novo.' In other words, this had to be done quite differently."

Lord Airlie subsequently wrote a memo to the Queen outlining a general plan for Diana's funeral.

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He says now: "For instance, the importance of catching and reflecting the public mood of 'the people's Princess', and ensuring that the ceremony was not overwhelmed by officialdom. I felt, too, that the procession of the coffin to Westminster Abbey should break with tradition and be somewhat radical."

The Queen then gave the go-ahead to a royal funeral that broke with tradition.

Recalling the Queen's reaction to the "radical" suggestions, Lord Airlie said: "The answer came back, saying, 'Go ahead.' So that let Malcolm Ross and his chaps get on with the job, which they did brilliantly."

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