The Queen is the most experienced politician in Britain and its shrewdest observer and commentator. Our monarch has received briefings from her private office for over sixty years and had weekly audiences with twelve successive Prime Ministers. Those PMs differed in their politics and in their characters but, by all accounts, each was struck by the insight—and the wit—of the queen.
Brief glimpses of her that we have caught in documentaries confirms this. Who can forget her exchange with President Reagan? On hearing that she writes a daily diary, the President asked how she did that. “In my own hand,” came the acid response. Given this, there is one day that she must truly dread—the day of the Queen’s Speech. For any adult with intelligence and self-respect it would be demeaning to have to read out the lifeless boilerplate that these are written in, but imagine what it is like for her. It must be a royal Groundhog Day.
This year’s speech, given on Wednesday, was a triumph of mediocrity even when compared to the low benchmark set in previous years. There was an air of desperation about the attempt to create a theme for it. An attempt which did not even last 24 hours, because no plausible case can be made for connecting electric cars and faster adoption—two topics covered in the speech. The bulk of the words the Queen spoke were about good intentions: