Queen Elizabeth's worst year

The queen called the year 1992 'terrible', and how could she not when all of her children's biggest love scandals happened just then.

Dec 29, 2021 - 16:35
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Queen Elizabeth's worst year

The queen called the year 1992 'terrible', and how could she not when all of her children's biggest love scandals happened just then.

Although it is not the only one in Europe, the British royal family is certainly the most famous and the one that is most written and talked about.

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, and on September 9, 2015, she became the longest-reigning British monarch in history, overtaking Queen Victoria. During her reign, as many as 14 prime Ministers changed, and even at the age of 95, she normally performs her royal duties. In April, she was widowed after the death of her husband Philip, who died at the age of 100.

And while during her nearly 70-year reign, she witnessed numerous scandals which shook her family, one year, in particular, remained inscribed in her calendar.

Namely, it is 1992. And why? The better question is, 'How did it all happen right then?.

That year, the Queen marked 40 years of rule, and instead of giving a speech to mark the big anniversary, she called 1992 'annus horribilis' or a 'terrible year'. In 12 disastrous months, dramas were racking up drama after drama, and it looked like there was no end to them.

'1992 is not a year. I'll look back on with pleasure. According to one of my correspondents, it turned out that the year had become 'annus horribilis',' she said at the time at the beginning of her speech.

And what exactly was going on back then?

Before 1992, the royal family looked perfect. Members showed their faces from their windows with smiles and everything seemed like a fairytale. But then the British public woke up from a 'hibernation' and realized that not everything was quite what it seemed.

First, the Queen's middle son, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, announced his divorce from then-wife Sarah Ferguson after six years of marriage. And that wasn't enough either. Five months later, photos of the then former Duchess and his ex-wife were released, with their 'financial adviser' John Bryan at her st Tropez mansion. Then the Daily Mirror published photos of Bryan kissing and sucking on her toes and feet. In one photo was even her daughter, Princess Eugenia, who watched her mom and John kiss. Never before has a member of the royal family been seen under such light.

And which marriage was juicier than the future royal couple?

Charles and Diana filled the tabloid ranks every day, and as the years passed, it became clearer that their marriage was anything but a fairytale. In an interview with Andrew Morton, Lady D spoke openly in 1992 about her misfortune, betrayal, thoughts of suicide attempts, bulimia, and a woman called Camilla. By the end of 1992, the Queen had no choice but to agree to another divorce, this time her eldest son, which officially took place a few years after.

Yet it doesn't end here either - that year the Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, divorced. She and her husband Mark Phillips did not even hide that they were unhappy in their then 15-year marriage, and it became clear to the public that surely everyone would go their separate ways. While still married to Anne, Mark had a child with another woman, an art teacher from New Zealand, and had affairs with many other women.

The biggest scandal, however, occurred when they went public with leaked letters princess Anne received from her lover Timothy Laurence. Four intimate-themed letters that were for Anna's eyes only ended up in The Sun, allegedly stolen from the palace. However, The Sun handed them over to the police because the content allegedly was too explicit to publish. The palace, of course, had no comment on this.