Did Queen Elizabeth make a political statement about Brexit in a recent speech?

Queen's Christmas broadcast

Gold-piano owner Queen Elizabeth just can’t help it – she’s getting more political in her old age. The first signs were perhaps her subtleties about the Scottish independence referendum back in 2016, which she seemed to indicate (in her own way) that she hoped Scotland would not vote for independence. Then came the Brexit vote just a month or two later. In the lead up to that vote, there was widespread speculation that the Queen was pre-Brexit, because she wanted Britain to focus more on commonwealth alliances rather than European alliances. She really did leave the impression pre-vote that she was pro-Brexit or, at most, utterly ambivalent about the European Union. Then the Brexit vote happened and everything blew up rather spectacularly. The Queen was dispatched to calm nerves in Scotland, and Buckingham Palace arranged with Prince William and Kate to travel to some European countries and act as some kind of “Brexit ambassadors,” shoring up alliances. It’s been two and a half years since the vote. And the Queen has some sh-t to say.

Is Queen Elizabeth weighing in on Brexit? The monarch, 92, spoke out on Thursday about “considering the needs of others” and “coming together to seek out the common ground” in a speech that is being seen as a veiled reference to the Brexit debate.

U.K. citizens voted narrowly in June 2016 to leave the European Union. The exit date is now set for March 29, but efforts to come up with a plan governing the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe have resulted in tension and divisions among the country’s political parties.

Members of the royal family — especially the monarch — typically steer clear of political discussions to remain politically neutral. And while the Queen didn’t mention “Brexit” directly in her speech, her comments during her annual visit to the Women’s Institute in Sandringham on Thursday are being interpreted as a plea to put an end the the Brexit debates.

“Reflecting on a century of change, it is clear that the qualities of the [Women’s Institute] endure. The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community-focus, and considering the needs of others, are as important today as they were when the group was founded all those years ago,” she said. “Of course, every generation faces fresh challenges and opportunities. As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture,” she continued. “To me, these approaches are timeless, and I commend them to everyone.

[From People]

This… is not the “political” rhetoric I was expecting from the way people were freaking out about it. I thought Her Maj waltzed into the Women’s Institute in another EU-flag-inspired hat and demanded a mulligan on the vote. No – she’s being extremely vague and we’re living in a sad time when someone who owns a gold piano can’t give a speech about being nice to people without everybody screaming about how she’s super-political now.

For what it’s worth, royal reporter Richard Palmer says that the Queen’s speech was written by herself and her people, and it wasn’t at the direction of Downing Street at all.

Queen West Newton

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, WENN.

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33 Responses to “Did Queen Elizabeth make a political statement about Brexit in a recent speech?”

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  1. Xena says:

    The Queen Never made a pro brexit statement. She told People to take the Vote and its consequences seriously.

  2. Tanguerita says:

    Sorry, but she is an old silly woman whose opinion shouldn’t count (but unfortunately does) – and same goes for all the greedy oldies who voted for Brexit.

    • PrincessK says:

      @Tanguerita Why is she a silly old woman? Do you know her? The life she has lived and the respect she has around the world does not reflect that view.

      • Rita says:

        And do you know her PrincessK? What makes you think she has any knowledge regarding what is best re Brexit? She is an out of touch, pampered poodle who wouldn’t know the first thing about the realities of Brexit that will hit the peasants.

      • Tina says:

        I don’t know the Queen, but I know several people who do know her. And they have always expressed significant appreciation for her intelligence. She’s privileged, absolutely. But she has lived through such deprivation in WWII, even in a palace, that would shock most modern Britons (powdered egg anyone?) She’s not expressing an opinion on Brexit here. She’s asking us to come together as a country. It’s a forlorn hope, but she’s the right person to make the appeal.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      @Tanguerita while I am mortified that Brexit passed (and we have Mango Mussolini in the WH) when you, your comment implying neither the Queen’s opinion nor those of “all the greedy oldies who voted for Brexit” should count is incredibly problematic as it’s the same sort rationale people in power (ie the GOP here in the states) are trying to do here w/voter suppression & election fraud. You can call people out, disagree with them & take action against objectionable policies but when you say those who aren’t completely with you shouldn’t have any voice just because you think they’re wrong, you’re no better. She didn’t say anything heinous to warrant the whole she shouldn’t be allowed a voice commentary

    • lubbylou says:

      @ Tanguerita

      I know people of all ages who voted different ways in the referendum and, funnily enough, I can have a polite and rational conversation with all of them.

      As for “greedy old folk” – if the same proportions of 18-24 year olds as 65+year olds had bothered to get out and vote then perhaps the referendum would have gone the way they wanted. But if you can’t be bothered to get out and vote you can’t complain when the result doesn’t go the way you want.

      • Kath says:

        Well said. You don’t get to whinge about politics when you don’t participate. Did you know that only 30 PER CENT of people under 30 bothered to vote in the US midterms? And this represented an “unprecedented” turnout!

        I am more inclined to listen to an old woman who remembers WWII – no matter how ludicrously over privileged she is (and I can’t stand the royals) – than a young idiot who is too busy fiddling with their Instagram filters to educate themselves.

        If more younger people actually got off their arses and voted in the Brexit referendum, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. 64 per cent of young people voted in the Brexit referendum, which is a hell of a lot better turnout than in the US, but 90 PER CENT of people aged 65 and over voted – so the ludicrous rosy view of Britain’s glorious imperial (white) past won out.

        Signed, a grumpy Gen X-er

      • Nah says:

        We did. We came out in droves to try and save our futures but the greedy oldies and absolutely idiots outnumbered us. But their time will pass and we will one day rejoin the EU and forget all this facist stuff happened at all.

      • Tina says:

        @Kath – agreed. But it’s important to note that the Queen’s generation, the 85+ year olds, voted to Remain. They remember the war, and they know how important and fragile European peace is. It’s the baby boomers, the 65-84 year olds, who have been selfish all their lives and continue to be so now, in voting to leave the EU.

      • Jerusha says:

        Boomers are 54-73 years old, January 1, 1946-December 31, 1964. Late 70s, earl 80s are the Silent Generation, those who came of age early 50s.

      • lubbylou says:

        @ Nah @ Tina to classify all “baby boomers” as being greedy and selfish all their lives is as bad as classifying all Germans ans Nazis. For the information of both of you, a great number of those vilified baby boomers voted in the 70s (probably before you were born) to join the EEC. We were sold a lie then, just as you say we were sold a lie in 2016. If it had remained a European ECONOMIC Community then many of those greedy selfish (which you never noticed they were before 2016, funny that) would have been happy to remain. In fact there would never have been a referendum.

      • Tina says:

        @lubbylou, what lie exactly were you sold in 1975? And precisely what about the EU do you object to that has gone beyond an economic community? Free movement of people? Because that freedom, along with the other three, was in the 1957 Treaty of Rome. You voted for it in 1975.
        And as a Gen Xer, I have known how greedy and selfish baby boomers are all my life. Your destruction of the environment, in particular, will be your legacy.

    • SK says:

      I am an Australian who wants a republic and shakes my head sadly at Brexit and Trump. However, I’d like to point out that The Queen knows more about what’s going on than most people in the world. Bear in mind that she has been receiving her Red Boxes for almost 67 years now and within those Red Boxes has been a wealth of top secret information about a huge range of topics. Information that only the acting PM and senior politicians and aides of each era know about – whereas she has continuous uninterrupted knowledge throughout all of these eras. She is known to be one of the most well-informed people on the planet as a result. She has met with a plethora of world leaders over her lifetime, and has interacted with people from many backgrounds and with a range of political leanings and ideals. She may not have had the best formal education and she may come from enormous privilege; but the woman is most certainly not ignorant or silly.

  3. Emily says:

    I’ll admit that I rolled my eyes. It’s not *as* bad as when people in Americans are all “why can’t both sides just get along???” with regards to the Trumpian dumpster fire, but it still comes across as pretty out of touch. There are very legitimate reasons why people are getting heated over Brexit.

  4. Enormous Coat says:

    There’s no respecting the povs of people who denigrate the humanity of others. The only way to community build with people like that in the mix is to marginalize them out of political existence.

    I live in the US and I remember when some of the Dems were positing that we needed to understand the people who voted for Trump and start dialogue with them. When the whole point of what they believe and what they do is to inflict cruelty, then dialogue is pointless.

  5. Billie Bee says:

    Politics are serious. People suffer when bad policies are in place. Their quality of life is stolen from them.

    I absolutely loathe people who insists now is a time that everyone just be nicer.
    Being polite about both sides-ism is a ploy that allows people to hurt you without rebuke in the name of good manners.

    We need to stop falling for it.

    • Kerfuffle says:

      That misses the problem though. The U.K. NEEDS to come to a solution, as soon as they can. Because if they don’t have a deal in place, the UK still leaves the EU with no agreements, period. It will be a disaster. So they HAVE to figure out how to work together. No choice.

  6. Rosie says:

    It’s not just pensioners who voted for brexit, plenty of younger people in less well off areas voted out too. A lot of people are just standing with their fingers in their ears shouting “brexit/remain” without understanding the other point of view. There are genuine problems caused by being part of Europe but there are also huge problems with leaving. I personally think in balance we’re better off in but if I listen and respect other people’s opinions they are more likely to listen to mine and maybe agree in part. I have had discussions with people and this has been the case. This is different to the political climate in the U.S. Nobody is campaigning to scrap our health service or rights to family planning. We have genuine problems of how to cope with a rapidly growing population with limited land which is completely different to people trying to force their belief system down an unwilling recipients throat.

    • PrincessK says:

      Well put Rosie!

    • Caity Didn’t says:

      I’m sorry to have to disagree with you, but they’re absolutely trying to take away my health care. This is the only “first world” country that doesn’t take care of its citizens.

    • Tina says:

      Rosie, I agree with you about listening to each other. But the people behind the leave campaign want to parcel off the NHS and sell it to the highest bidder. They want us to try to be Singapore, a low tax no benefits capitalist Ayn Rand fever dream. And Jeremy Corbyn wants that to happen, and be an utter disaster, so he can make us into Cuba.

      • Rosie says:

        That’s not the people that voted, that’s the people manipulating them to create a situation where they will make money or get power. Just branding all leave voters as xenophobes and ignoring their genuine concerns does nothing to persuade them that they have made a mistake. By talking I’ve found I’ve been able to bring a lot of the lies told pre vote out into the discussion without branding them idiots.

      • Tina says:

        Sure, but they are planning to take away our health service, even if they’re not campaigning to do so. People have genuine concerns but they were lied to, and many continue to believe those lies.

  7. Pip says:

    The Firm are very adept at shooting themselves in both feet at the moment. The old trout should stfu & keep the hell out of politics.

    Very febrile, uncertain times in the UK at the moment – certainly the worst it’s been in most people’s lifetimes – & this comes on top of almost a decade of swingeing cuts in public services & abject poverty & homelessness to rival that of Thatcher’s era. Telling us all to play nice is frankly ridiculous & she should NOT get involved. This could be seen as a plea for people to meet in the middle & accept the current bastardised deal & many people, on both sides, won’t do that without a hell of a fight.

  8. Nic919 says:

    The Women’s Institute is not political group but where women who live in various areas in the UK meet up and exchange recipes and the like. So giving a speech about getting along with each other and then saying it’s a reference to Brexit is a huge stretch. The Queen is not so dumb as to wade into that mess. She was talking about people getting along when they come from different cultures. That’s not exactly a controversial message.

    They messed up the aftermath of the accident, but this is a media created outrage.

  9. Kerfuffle says:

    I’m not sure where the idea of The Queen as some sort of last, great hope in the U.K. comes from. Brexit is happening, and the deadline is LOOMING. The Queen was pro-Brexit. She’s not going to swoop in and say “never mind, no Brexit!”

    • Tina says:

      The Queen is, and will remain, apolitical. If she’s asked by Jacob Rees-Mogg and the like to prorogue Parliament to prevent them removing no-deal Brexit from the available options, she will say no. The last time a monarch did that in the UK, they chopped his head off.

  10. Veronica S. says:

    It is literally mind boggling to me that Britain is about to crash out of the EU without an agreement – or even if one comes up now, it certainly won’t be to their great benefit. Such a tremendous impact it will have, yet so poorly and thoughtlessly handled.

  11. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    “The Queen was dispatched to calm nerves in Scotland” — being an American, I don’t understand how that works. The royals never seem to say anything of substance, so how do nerves get calmed? Is simply catching sight of a celebrity enough to calm people’s nerves? I wouldn’t have thought so, but I wasn’t trained to think that way (growing up in a country that never had a monarchy).