Meeting politicians is nothing new for Queen Elizabeth II. In her nearly 70 year reign, she’s met 13 US presidents and governed with 14 prime ministers. Working with the prime minister to lead the country can get a little tricky because the royal family is not allowed to endorse politicians or share their views on politics in general. The queen must keep everything strictly professional and be careful not to play favorites.
However, most historians suspect that Elizabeth had a soft spot for Winston Churchill. Churchill was the first prime minister the queen ever had to work with, and he was likely one of the most formidable. She reportedly wrote him a heartfelt letter when he left office, expressing a deep admiration and gratitude for his service. Notably, she also took the unusual step of breaking royal protocol by arriving at his funeral before his family. The queen is technically supposed to arrive last to any official engagement, per The Express.
When it came to Churchill’s successor, those relationships were less copacetic. Rumor has it, the queen’s relationship with Tony Blair was especially fraught. Here’s what we know.
Queen Elizabeth can hold a grudge
Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with former prime minister Tony Blair got off to a rocky start. The queen was reportedly offended when Blair’s wife refused to curtsy during their first meeting. Things became tenser when Blair altered the day of the prime minister’s weekly meetings with the queen from Tuesdays to Wednesday — which, of course, altered the queen’s schedule too, per GQ.
These instances might be easily overlooked as minor annoyances that don’t really indicate anything about the queen’s relationship with Blair if not for the fact that she is still noticeably snubbing him 20 years after he left office. In 2021, Elizabeth refused to give Blair the title of “Sir,” an honor that has been bestowed on most retired prime ministers.
The queen is reportedly holding a grudge over Blair’s handling of the falling out the royal family faced after Princess Diana’s death in 1997. Diana died within months of Blair taking office, and as prime minister, he was in close contact with the queen and royal family while they worked to handle the situation. Things were already tense, but apparently, Blair really rubbed Elizabeth the wrong way by chronicling the whole thing — personal conversions included — in his memoir, per the Daily Mail.
We can’t say for sure if that’s why Elizabeth is really still miffed, but she definitely doesn’t seem overeager to do Blair any favors, even 20 years later
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