A speech by Queen Elizabeth II warning against “division” in Europe as Prime Minister David Cameron plans a referendum on Britain’s EU membership was interpreted by British media on Thursday as a political statement.
British newspapers were quick to express their surprise on Thursday, the same day that Cameron is due to address European Union leaders in Brussels on Britain’s desire for a looser association with the EU bloc.
The Daily Telegraph said “the Queen’s comments may be interpreted by some as the sovereign expressing a view on the EU debate”.
A headline in The Independent read: “Queen issues unexpected warning as EU leaders meet in Brussels for key summit”.
But a Buckingham Palace aide quoted by the BBC rejected the interpretation of the queen’s words.
“This is not about the EU. The queen is apolitical.
That’s the EU official version *cough*
The European Commission has sent a strong political signal to London by appointing a special team to take charge of relations with the UK in the run-up to its referendum on EU membership.
Jonathan Faull, a lawyer and one of Britain’s top civil servants in the commission, will head up the new unit, which officially starts its work on 1 September.