Queen Elizabeth’s Annus Horribilis was entirely re-written in The Crown season five
Three separations and tampongate? 1992 was a rough year for Queen Elizabeth
The fourth episode of The Crown season five is titled Annus Horribilis and to someone with near to no knowledge on the Royal Family and the many many speeches made by its members, it’s probably a little confusing. There are lots of differences in The Crown from the real life events, largely for entertainment and dramatisation purposes but they are usually small and easily forgettable changes.
However, one of the biggest changes in the fifth season of The Crown is Queen Elizabeth’s Annus Horribilis speech, which for the most part, has been largely re-written. So, what was the Annus Horribilis speech and how much did The Crown actually change?
What was the Annus Horribilis speech?
In November 1992, Queen Elizabeth II made a speech to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne. Despite the speech meant to commemorate her 40 years on the throne, it instead focused on the very bad year the Royal Family endured. From castle fires to familial scandals, 1992 was one of the worst years for the Queen. During 1992, three of the Queen’s four children had divorced or separated, which was incredibly difficult due to her being the head of the Church of England.
In particular, the separation of Charles and Diana added to the Queen’s Annus Horribilis, as she called it. “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure,” the late Queen said.
What happened in 1992 that was so bad?
1992 was a chaotic year for the Royal Family to say the least. In March 1992, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson announced they would be separating following the publishing of photographs of her arm around Steve Wyatt, an American oil tycoon. That summer, the Daily Mirror published a spread showing Sarah Ferguson topless with her financial advisor John Byron. One of the photos showed Bryan kissing Ferguson’s toes, and another showed them hugging in front of two-year-old Princess Eugenie. An awkward family breakfast to say the least.
In April 1992, Princess Anne divorced her husband Mark Phillips, after 18 years of marriage. There had been rumours the Princess Royal was having an affair with Timothy Laurence, and eight months later the princess and Laurence married. Princess Anne became “the first close relative of a British monarch to divorce and marry”.
It didn’t stop there as in the June of 1992, Andrew Morton published Diana: Her True Story. The tell-all revealed Princess Diana had suffered from bulimia, was miserable in her marriage and had made a series of attempts on her life. Two months later in August, a transcript was published of an intimate phone call with Diana and her friend, James Gilbey. Despite the phone call not being as bad as tampongate, it was a privacy breach to the Royal Family.
Towards the end of the turbulent year, Windsor Castle caught fire. The fire lasted for 15 hours, as the Queen watched. Windsor Castle’s rebuild cost around $47.5 million, with the Queen agreeing to pay for 70 per cent of the restorations. Just four days after the fire, Queen Elizabeth II made her Annus Horribilis speech.
What did the Queen actually say in her speech?
During her speech, Elizabeth II said 1992 was not a year should would look back on “with undiluted pleasure”. She said: “In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so. Indeed, I suspect that there are very few people or institutions unaffected by these last months of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty.”
You can read the full Annus Horribilis speech here.
How much of the famous speech did The Crown change?
The Crown’s version of the speech refers to errors and pays tribute to the Royal Family, however the original speech focused on how the Queen thought future generations would judge 1992. Despite including the Annus Horribilis line, a lot of the speech is changed.
The Queen makes her speech in the fourth episode, which goes as follows: “My Lord Mayor, the anniversary of any occasion is a time to reflect. But in light of the events of the last 12 months, perhaps I have more to reflect on than most. 1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. It has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’.
“No institution is beyond reproach, and no member of it either. The high standards we in the monarchy are held to by the public must be the same benchmark to which we hold ourselves personally. If we can’t admit the errors of our past, what hope for reconciliation can there be?
“Today, I’d like to pay tribute, if I may, to my family. Throughout the four decades I have been on the throne they have quite literally been my sun and water. For all the sacrifices they have made, indeed, to all of you here whose prayers and well-wishes have been a source of strength to me these last forty years, I say thank you.”
The Crown season five is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.