DURING the Queen’s lifetime she witnessed numerous highs and lows – but she stated that one year stood out for her for being one of the worst.
The 12 months were so bad the monarch called it her “annus horribilis”, literally meaning “horrible year”, and there were a number of factors that caused her upset.
When was the Queen's annus horribilis?
On November 24, in a speech at Guildhall marking her 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne, the Queen referred to 1992 as her “annus horribilis”.
She said: “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.
“In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis'.”
What happened during the annus horribilis?
The year began badly — and kept on getting worse for the royal family.
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In January, at Sandringham, the Queen was told by her favourite son Prince Andrew and his wife telling her their marriage was all but over.
Sarah Ferguson later wrote: “She asked me to reconsider, to be strong and go forward.”
The couple agreed to delay any decision for six months.
But later that month photos of the Duchess of York holidaying with her Texan playboy lover Steve Wyatt were published, leading to a legal separation in March.
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And things weren’t rosy with the Queen’s firstborn son and his wife either.
Charles and Diana had lived relatively separate lives since the mid-1980s while trying to keep up a show of public togetherness – but cracks were starting to form.
In April, Princess Anne’s divorce from Mark Phillips was formalised.
Royal editor Ingrid Seward wrote: “She [the Queen] and the Duke of Edinburgh felt the change in the air on a visit to Australia in February, where their reception was only lukewarm.
“The wife of the Australian prime minister even refused to curtsey.
“Philip, ever the guardian of family affairs, told Diana, in the nicest possible terms, and Sarah more bluntly, that their behaviour was damaging the monarchy.”
In June, Andrew Morton published his bombshell biography, Diana: Her True Story, and no detail of the agony going on inside Charles and Diana’s marriage was spared.
The following month, the Queen was on holiday at Balmoral when photos were published of a topless Duchess of York by a pool while her “financial adviser” John Bryan sucked her toes.
On November 13, excerpts from an illicit recording of a phone call, the so-called Camillagate Tape, were published.
Only a few lines were revealed but they were enough to confirm Charles was having an adulterous relationship with old flame Camilla Parker Bowles.
Later that month, Windsor Castle was engulfed by flames, which damaged 115 rooms and took five years to restore.
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Four days after the fire, the Queen did her speech hailing the year her “annus horribilis”.
But the upset was not over yet for the monarch.
On December 9, John Major stood in the Commons and said: “It is announced from Buckingham Palace that, with regret, the Prince and Princess of Wales have decided to separate.”
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