Queen Elizabeth II dubbed 1992 ‘annus horribilis’ following two public splits in family, massive fire at Windsor Castle
LONDON, ENGLAND: The Royal Family has been part of several controversies in the last few decades but the year 1992, in particular, will always be remembered as the most scandalous one after Queen Elizabeth II dubbed it “annus horribilis” during a speech in the same year.
On the occasion of celebrating her 40th anniversary as monarch, the Queen during her speech told the guests, “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.” For the uninitiated, the term ‘Annus Horribilis’ in Latin means “horrible year.” The Queen’s annus horribilis speech was made on November 24, 1992, and it came just days after a massive fire engulfed Windsor Castle.
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The Queen in her speech stated, “In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'annus horribilis.’” She further stated, “No institution-city, monarchy, whatever- should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don't” adding, “This sort of questioning can also act, and it should do so, as an effective engine for change”, as reported by ABC News.
1992 proved to be the most controversial for the Queen as Royal Family faced public splits, tabloid scandals, and the unfortunate fire at one of her homes- Windsor Castle. The Royal Family appeared to be in a mess as the Queen had to face two broken marriages in very quick succession. Her son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, separated from his wife Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson in March 1992 the Duchess of York after the latter reportedly had an affair with Texan playboy lover Steve Wyatt.
A month later, the Queen’s daughter Princess Anne divorced her husband, Captain Mark Phillips. The two had been separated for three years. They were reportedly leading separate lives since their marriage in 1973. On the other hand, Prince Charles and Princess Diana too shared high voltage drama before officially getting divorced in the year 1996.
If the public splits were not embarrassing enough, the tabloid scandals involving Fergie proved to be no less than a headache for the royals. According to the publication All VIPP, Fergie was papped topless with another man while still married to Prince Andrew. At the same time, the drama between Charles and Diana too made headlines along with Diana's tell-all book which got into the Charles and Camilla affair.