Queen Elizabeth and Europe, love and turbulence

She was just 25 years old in 1951 when the European Coal and Steel Community was created, the first stone of the European edifice. Since then, Elizabeth II has been at the forefront of the construction of the European Union. A look back at a relationship between the queen and Europe made up of respect, turmoil and unknowns.

The United Kingdom officially enters the European Economic Community (EEC) on January 1, 1973. A few months before, in May 1972, Queen Elizabeth went to Paris. It was then the sovereign’s second official visit to France. She speaks, in French, at the Elysée Palace in front of President Georges Pompidou.

A good part of destiny of europe flowed through London and Paris, as the Thames and the Seine flow there“, she declares. She continues: “I have no doubt that these two great cities, different in many respects but which are attached to the same values ​​and share the same hopes, will always continue to exert their influence on the orientation and the characteristics of theeuropean progress.

Our European family

Elizabeth II is also at the rendezvous of European history in 1992, three months after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty which confirms the creation of the European Union. On May 12, she landed on the tarmac at Strasbourg-Entzheim airport (north-eastern France), in her “Europe blue” suit. A few hours later, she went up to the podium of the hemicycle of the European Parliament and gave an openly pro-European speech.

She quotes in turn two of the founding fathers of the EUthe former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Jean Monnet, French President of the Council. She insists “we all try to preserve the rich diversity of European countries. Because if this diversity were to be removed, we would weaken Europe instead of strengthening it. “, before concluding “we are building together, our European family

Brexit and the duty of neutrality

Year after year, the Queen stands by her constitutional duty of neutrality to which it is subject. National or European subjects, she always keeps her distance from the debates and controversies that agitate the Old Continent.

Yet in March 2016, when the United Kingdom was torn over Brexit, The Sun, a notoriously Eurosceptic tabloid, questions this sacrosanct neutrality. The newspaper describes a scene from 2011 during a lunch at Windsor Castle. The sovereign would then have confided to her guests that the EU was heading “in the wrong way“.

Buckingham Palace’s reaction was immediate. ” The Queen remains politically neutral, as she has for 63 yearssaid a spokesperson for the royal palace. We do not comment on misleading gossip based on anonymous sources.”

The Hat of Discord

Was she in favor of Britain leaving the European Union? The pro and anti-Brexit camps have not stopped looking for clues to elucidate the mystery, even in his outfits and his headgear.

During her opening speech in Parliament in June 2017, Elizabeth II wears a blue hat, adorned with yellow flowers. It was enough for some Internet users and commentators to see it as a disguised tribute to Europe.

In 2019, her stylist Angela Kelly put an end to speculation by explaining, in a book, that it was pure chance. Simple coincidence or subliminal message, the mystery remains whole, still to this day…

Queen Elizabeth and Europe, love and turbulence