Buckingham embarrassed by David Cameron's revelations

While the British Supreme Court must determine whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson lied to Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament, his predecessor claims to have obtained support from the Queen in the 2014 Scottish referendum.

Time to Reading 4 min.

Subscribers article

Queen Elizabeth II and David Cameron, then prime minister, in 2012 at Downing Street. BEN STANSALL / AFP

A "Raising eyebrow" for Scotland … Apparently nothing like this: David Cameron said in a documentary broadcast by the BBC these days that he had asked Queen Elizabeth II for a symbolic gesture of this type, just before the referendum for Scotland's independence in 2014. The former prime minister was starting to panic, as the yes polls took the lead – it was ultimately the retention in the United Kingdom that prevailed. And he confessed to having solicited the private secretary of the sovereign.

This confidence earned him a severe reframing of Buckingham Palace on September 19th. The palace expressed its "Displeasure and annoyance", after the indiscretions of Mr. Cameron, in full promotion of his memoirs (For the record, HarperCollins, untranslated). The former prime minister had solicited the Queen during a visit to Balmoral, his Scottish residence, in September 2014.

A week later, a lady on the sidelines of a service at the church of Crathie, where the royal family participates in the services when she resides in Balmoral, swore that the queen had confided to her: "Let's hope people will think carefully about their future. " A reflection immediately interpreted as a signal against the independence of Scotland.

Politically less sensitive, though embarrassing: Mr. Cameron also told Times, in an interview published on September 20, that in Balmoral the Queen was driving "At a vertiginous speed" and that she would have told him "To be the only woman to have served as a pilot to the King of Saudi Arabia".

The "panic" of David Cameron

Mr. Cameron admitted to the BBC microphone that "People must think that I have already said too much." The episode may seem anecdotal, but it is not. Throughout her very long reign, Elizabeth II has stuck to a rule considered vital for the durability of the British monarchy: never to intervene in the national political game. Neither interviews nor confidences by intermediary media. It is also customary for the content of his interviews with prime ministers to remain strictly confidential.

"I'm not surprised that the palace responded in this way. The relationship between the Head of State (the Queen) and the head of the government is very special, there is nothing higher in terms of confidentiality, " commented the historian Lord Peter Hennessy in the columns of Times.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here