Queen’s stark assessment of pandemic as monarch ‘wasn’t hopeful of change’

Queen 'wanted to set example at Christmas' says expert

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The 95-year-old monarch’s last 11 months have been chronicled in a new documentary on Channel 5. Set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘2021: The Queen’s Terrible Year’ looks at the challenges Her Majesty has faced in one of her most challenging periods for decades. As last year drew to a close, with England still under severe restrictions to contain the virus, the Queen was reported to be gloomy about 2021.

Camilla Tominey, the associate editor of the Daily Telegraph, who spoke for the documentary, claimed the monarch “wasn’t hopeful” about this year.

She said: “When the Queen woke up on New Year’s Day in 2021, I don’t think the Queen, like any of us, would have been particularly hopeful of change.

“We were still in the thick of that particular winter wave [of COVID-19].”

As a new year was ushered in, the Queen put her personal feelings aside to deliver a message of hope to the nation.

She said: “We should take comfort that, while we may have more still to endure, better days will return.

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“We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

“Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.”

The monarch’s words are the same lines she used to sign off her historic speech about the pandemic in April 2020.

Her Majesty’s televised message from last spring was only the fifth time she has addressed the nation in her nearly 70-year reign.

Despite the Queen’s message of resilience as England looked ahead to 2021, within a week, the country had entered its third national lockdown amid rebounding Covid infections.

The sense of gloom in early January was summed up by Emily Nash, the royal editor of HELLO! Magazine.

She told the documentary: “Britain felt like quite a dark place. Covid rates were rising again. People were really starting to struggle with yet another lockdown.

“Things were very tough and it was no different for members of the Royal Family.”

During lockdown, the Queen and Prince Philip, who passed away in April, received their first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The royal couple were among the first 1.5 million people in the UK to have received their jabs at the time.

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The pair, who were considered high-priority, due them both being over 80 years old, were injected at Windsor Castle.

As well as the pandemic, ‘2021: The Queen’s Terrible Year’ also looks back at the controversial moments that have blighted the Royal Family’s reputation this year.

The film revisits Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from the Firm, and catches up with their new lives in the US.

It also looks at the ‘cash-for-access’ scandal that engulfed Prince Charles, and the sexual assault allegations against Prince Andrew, which he has repeatedly denied.

In its analysis of 2021, the film references 1992, the year the Queen famously dubbed her “annus horribilis”.

That year saw the separations of Charles and Princess Diana, and Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, as well as a huge fire that destroyed swathes of Windsor Castle.

‘2021: The Queen’s Terrible Year’ is available to stream on My5.

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