‘Annus Horribilis’: Why Queen Elizabeth II Called 1992 a Horrible Year

Queen Elizabeth II called 1992 her “annus horribilis,” or horrible year, in a speech marking the 40th year of her reign, saying: “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‘.”

The marriages of three of her four children ended; there was a fire at her beloved home, Windsor Castle; and the publication of a racy book and leaked phone conversations from Princess Diana and Prince Charles to their lovers—known as the “Squidgygate Tapes” and “Camillagate,” respectively—added scandal to a year when taxpayers were questioning the cost of the royal family. Media scrutiny on these matters exacerbated the Queen’s private pain.

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