Tribune. Just two years ago, everything seemed to be going well for the British monarchy. In a country which, because of Brexit, is currently going through troubled and uncertain times, the Crown remains the most popular institution. It is a symbol of unchanging stability, tradition and, above all, political neutrality, which, within a divided nation, greatly contributes to making it popular in all parts of society. Most British people would not want it to be otherwise.
But how things have changed in a few months! On Monday January 13, the Queen called a crisis meeting with her son Prince Charles and her grandchildren, William and Harry, at her private home in Sandringham, Norfolk, to discuss the unprecedented implications of Harry's desire and his wife, Meghan, to disengage from most of their royal duties. At the end of the meeting, the queen issued a statement explaining that the discussion had been constructive and evoking a period of transition, while marking her will to resolve the "Complex issues" raised by the couple's withdrawal in the coming days.
2019 was one of the most difficult years for Queen Elizabeth II in her long reign – which should not happen to an admired old lady who is now over 90 years old. It started in January 2019, when her husband, Prince Philip, who still drives 97, almost caused a fatal accident. Fortunately, the other driver was only slightly injured, but the duke had to definitively renounce his driving license.
Jeffrey Epstein scandal
The incident was, however, completely overshadowed when, in November, Prince Andrew, the Queen's youngest son, was implicated in the scandal Jeffrey Epstein, the New York businessman accused of have trafficked minors for many years. While Epstein – who hung himself in his cell in August before the end of his trial – had already been convicted before, Andrew had remained his friend: he was spending holidays with the Epsteins, and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson even accepted his financial support to pay off his debts. Andrew denies having knowledge of the crimes Epstein was charged with before the matter was made public.
But when a photograph of the prince was released in the fall, his hand wrapped around the waist of a teenage girl claiming to be one of the victims, Andrew gave a disastrous television interview, justifying his loyalty to Epstein by invoking the"Honor" and showing no empathy towards the victims. In the days that followed, the queen and her eldest son, Prince Charles, forced him to withdraw from his royal offices – an unprecedented measure.