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New ‘annus horribilis’ could strengthen Monarchy says expert

The Queen has suffered another ‘annus horribilis’ in 2021, according to a new documentary, but experts believe her struggles over the last year could actually strengthen the monarchy.

The monarch, 95, has been blighted with tragedies over the last 12 months – with husband Prince Philip dying in April, and her son Prince Andrews facing questions over his controversial friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison in 2019, while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges.

Along with health complications, the royal has also faced family fallouts, with grandson Prince Harry moving to Montecito, California, with his wife Meghan Markle, and the reportedly fraught relationship between the prince and his older brother William.

Charles Anson, the Queen’s press secretary between 1990 and 1997, made the claims in new documentary 2021: The Queen’s Horrible Year, which aired last night on Channel 5.   

The Queen, pictured with a walking stick here in October 2021 attending a Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Centenary of the Royal British Legion at Westminster Abbey in London, has had a tough 2021

Despite a fraught year, multiple commentators believe the monarchy may emerge stronger, thanks to how Her Majesty has tackled many difficulties, including family in-fighting. The royal family, including 'feuding' brothers Harry and William, are seen in 2019 at Trooping The Colour

Despite a fraught year, multiple commentators believe the monarchy may emerge stronger, thanks to how Her Majesty has tackled many difficulties, including family in-fighting. The royal family, including ‘feuding’ brothers Harry and William, are seen in 2019 at Trooping The Colour

A major crisis facing the Monarchy controversy generated by Prince Andrew's friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew has denied all allegations made against him

A major crisis facing the Monarchy controversy generated by Prince Andrew’s friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew has denied all allegations made against him

It branded 2021 another ‘annus horribilis’ – the phrase Queen Elizabeth famously used to describe 1992, which saw a major fire blaze through Windsor Castle, as well as the breakdown of Princess Anne and Prince Andrew’s marriages. 

The new programme, which charted theroyal’s tumultuous year, featured a number of prominent royal commentators and insiders.

Among them was Charles Anson, the Queen’s press secretary between 1990 and 1997.

Addressing the issue of whether the ‘new annus horribilis’ will weaken or strengthen the Monarchy, he said: ‘The strength of our monarchy is that it is able to adapt. 

‘It’s changing and I think providing the values are still there, it often changes for the better.’ 

Agreeing, Stewart Purvis, CBE, a former TV executive and documentary producer, added: ‘In the last year, the Queen has lost her husband [and] she’s got a grandson who is semi-detached.

Among the issues faced by the Queen is the fall out between Princes Harry and William, pictured here with wives Meghan and Kate in 2018

Among the issues faced by the Queen is the fall out between Princes Harry and William, pictured here with wives Meghan and Kate in 2018

The Queen, snapped here with son Prince Charles at a tree-planting ceremony in October, which kicked off her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, was described as a 'unifying figure'

The Queen, snapped here with son Prince Charles at a tree-planting ceremony in October, which kicked off her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, was described as a ‘unifying figure’

‘But she has symbolised so much of what we hope for from a royal family that, in a sense, I think the respect for her is stronger than ever.

‘I think the future of the Royal Family is more secure as a result of the way she’s steered us through these difficult months.’

Journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil added that the Queen has been a ‘rallying call’ as well as a ‘unifying figure’ for the nation.

‘She has been a figure of love for the nation as well,’ he said,’ as well as a figure of common sense.

‘That wasn’t always true in previous crises. This time she’s come through with flying colours.’ 

The Queen blamed herself for the Royal Family's woes in the 'annus horribilis' of 1992

The year saw two marriage splits as well as a devastating fire at Windsor Castle, according to a royal expert. Pictured: The Queen in 1992

The Queen blamed herself for the Royal Family’s woes in the ‘annus horribilis’ of 1992 which saw two marriage splits as well as a devastating fire at Windsor Castle, according to a royal expert

Last year a royal expert claimed the Queen blamed herself for the Royal Family’s woes in the ‘annus horribilis’ of 1992.

The year of misfortune bought marriage splits for Prince Charles and Prince Andrew as well as a devastating fire at Windsor Castle which destroyed 115 rooms.

The revelations emerged during ITV’s Inside The Crown: Secrets of the Royals.

Sarah Gristwood, who is an author and historian, said: ‘It was like slap, slap, slap across the face of the Royal Family, it just didn’t stop. 

‘The Queen herself is reported to have said to a friend, “Where did I go wrong?”.’

The Queen made a speech on the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne during which she described 1992 as annus horribilis – Latin for horrible year. 

In November 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle that destroyed 115 rooms. It is thought that the blaze started in Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel where a faulty spotlight ignited a curtain next to the altar

Prince Andrew and his then wife Sarah Ferguson (pictured on their wedding day) decided to legally split in 1992 after six years of marriage

In November 1992 a fire broke out at Windsor Castle that destroyed 115 rooms. 

Prince Andrew and his then wife Sarah Ferguson also decided to legally split in 1992 after six years of marriage. 

Similarly, the direct heir to the throne, Prince Charles, separated from Princess Diana in 1992.

Meanwhile, Princess Anne, the Queen’s only daughter, divorced from Captain Mark Phillips in 1992.

Similarly, the direct heir to the throne, Prince Charles, also separated from Princess Diana in 1992

Similarly, the direct heir to the throne, Prince Charles, also separated from Princess Diana in 1992


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