1992—the British Royal Family’s Annus Horribilis
The year 1992 could have been a happy year for Queen Elizabeth II. After all, that marked her 40th year on the throne. But it will always be remembered as an “annus horribilis” in the annals of the British Family. Three events happened that placed the monarchy at its most troublesome year: the Charles-Camilla affair that led to the separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the scandal involving the Duke and Duchess of York, and the fire at Windsor Castle.
Right at the first years of their marriage the Prince and Princess of Wales were reportedly not the happiest of couples as it came as a shock to the British public that the marriage was just a “sham” right from the start. Andrew Morton revealed that Princess Diana, then 19-years old, was handpicked by no other than Camilla Parker-Bowles for Prince Charles. After he produced an “heir and the spare,” that is, Prince William and Prince Harry, Morton claimed that Charles resumed his love affair with Camilla. This left Diana devastated, causing her to suffer from eating disorder. She even attempted to claim her life. In August 1992, The Sun published an limited, intimidate conversation of Charles and Camilla. Later in November, transcript of their conversation was published by The Daily Mirror. In it, Charles was saying he wanted him to become her tampon.
Then, there’s Sarah, Duchess of York, and the scandal with her “financial adviser.” Sarah was married to Prince Andrew, Duke of York in 1986 and their marriage produced two daughters: Beatrice and Eugenie. Earlier in March, the couple had announced that they would be separating. In August,pictures of a topless duchess with her toes sucked by balding American millionaire John Bryan have found their way on the pages of Daily Mirror. That smashed whatever possibilities there were of keeping her marriage with the Duke of York.
And for the final blow, Windsor Castle caught fire, leaving extensive damage in the world’s largest inhabited castle. However, instead of inviting public sympathy, the Royal Family was severely criticized after it was found that the public will foot the bill of restoring the castle.
Other events that made 1992 truly a horrible year for Queen Elizabeth included the separation of Mauritius from the Commonwealth and Princess Anne's divorce from her first husband, Capt. Mark Phillips.
Image: Fred Chartrand