Queen’s distress exposed after reckless David Cameron crossed line with gloating comment
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Ahead of Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum, the Queen made a rare intervention where she expressed her hope that voters “think very carefully about the future”. The comment was perceived as a plea by the monarch to keep the UK together and was very much welcomed by then prime minister David Cameron who was seeking to avoid Scotland breaking away. Indeed, when Scotland voted “no”, Mr Cameron said the Queen “purred down the line” following the result.
Just days after the result of the referendum was announced, Mr Cameron was caught on camera telling former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg he had “never heard someone so happy” as the Queen after Scotland voted to remain in the union.
Mr Cameron had phoned Her Majesty to inform her of the result, which saw Scots reject independence by 55 percent to 45 percent.
A microphone picked him up saying: “The definition of relief is being the prime minister of the United Kingdom and ringing the Queen and saying: ‘It’s alright, it’s OK.’
“That was something. She purred down the line.”
Biographer Matthew Dennison documented the conversation in his new book, The Queen, where he said Her Majesty was far from impressed by Mr Cameron’s public outburst.
He wrote: “David Cameron said he had ‘never heard someone so happy’ as Elizabeth when he told her of voters’ choice to remain within the United Kingdom; she ‘purred down the line’.
“Quite rightly, she regarded his indiscretion balefully.”
The former prime minister later said he was “embarrassed” and “extremely sorry” for the remarks.
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He said: “Look, I’m very embarrassed by this. I’m extremely sorry about it.
“It was a private conversation, but clearly a private conversation that I shouldn’t have had and won’t have again.
“My office has already been in touch with the Palace to make that clear and I will do so as well.”
Mr Cameron said he had contacted Buckingham Palace and would apologise to the Queen in person during their next weekly meeting.
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Buckingham Palace did not comment on the exchange.
In 2019, when he was carrying out interviews ahead of the launch of his memoir, Mr Cameron told BBC’s Today programme his comments were a “terrible mistake”.
Mr Dennison commented on the Queen’s remark ahead of the Scottish vote, which was made outside Crathie Church, the Sunday before the referendum.
He wrote: “Her remarks were audible to journalists and photographers: unusually, they had been invited to observe the exchanges.
“To a joke about the approaching referendum,, Elizabeth cautioned, ‘I hope people will think very carefully about the future’.
“Afterwards, Cameron claimed that she had ‘helped to put a slightly different perception on things’ and her comment, widely reported, was interpreted as opposing Scottish separatism.
“It was a plausible interpretation given her opposition to Welsh and Scottish nationalism at the time of the Silver Jubilee.”
The Queen by Matthew Dennison is available to buy now.
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