When have PMs apologised to the Queen in the past?

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The Queen greets Prime Minister Boris Johnson at an audience at Buckingham Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)
The Queen greets Prime Minister Boris Johnson at an audience at Buckingham Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

There was never any doubt that fresh claims parties were held in No 10 on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral would cause a stir with the public.

But these revelations would likely have held personal significance for the Queen – as descriptions of staff drinking and dancing into the night jarred with images of the monarch mourning her husband alone a week after his death in April 2021.

The Queen during the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
The Queen during the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

In recognition of this, Downing Street said on Friday that it had apologised to Buckingham Palace.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “You heard from the PM this week, he’s recognised No 10 should be held to the highest standards, and take responsibility for things we did not get right.”

It is not the first time that Boris Johnson has faced trouble with the Queen.

Back in July 2019, he reportedly broken the rule of secrecy associated with audiences with the monarch following their very first meeting as head of state and prime minister – by claiming she questioned why anyone would want the job of premier.

What passes between the Queen and her prime minister during their private meetings is supposed to remain private, but when the inevitable leak does happen it is usually well after the event.

He then broke with convention again that November, saying “she always asks the best questions”.

The latter revelation was made in an election campaign video filmed on his way to meet the head of state on the day Parliament was dissolved signalling the start of the general election.

The PM also found himself in hot water in September 2019, when the Supreme Court ruled that Mr Johnson’s advice to the Queen – imparted by Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg at Balmoral – to prorogue Parliament for five weeks had been “unlawful”.

Mr Johnson apologised to the monarch following the issuing of the judgment.

The Queen Elizabeth greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)
The Queen Elizabeth greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)

In 2014, a red-faced David Cameron was forced to make a grovelling apology to the Queen after his “purr-gate” blunder.

Mr Cameron was caught on camera telling former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg that the monarch had “purred down the line” when he telephoned and told her the result of the Scottish independence referendum.

The Queen has seen 13 premiers come and go during her reign, with Mr Johnson her 14th prime minister.

Sir Winston Churchill her first PM, is thought to be her favourite.

Baroness Thatcher, on the other hand, reportedly found the traditional September weekend at the Queen’s Balmoral estate painful.

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