Former PM David Cameron asked the Queen for “just a raising of the eyebrow even… a quarter of an inch” to convey opposition to Scottish independence in 2014. “I’ve already said perhaps a little bit too much,” he conceded recently. (“The Queen and David Cameron: What royal displeasure really means,” BBC.com, 9-19-19)
The Queen agreed with him. There’s an “understanding” about royal audiences, according to royal commentator Dickie Arbiter: Mums the word.
Royal correspondent Jonny Dymond reports the royal “displeasure” may be “something coming pretty close to real anger… It is difficult to imagine anything other than horror in the palace at David Cameron’s revelations.”
Pretty close, mind you. Verging on horror, if one can imagine. In the palace!
The Queen’s ostensible assignment is to swallow her tongue for all practical purposes. The Cameron case (amongst others) is said to highlight “the dark greys of the Queen’s constitutional position, the discretion she has or lacks [my emphasis], under extraordinary circumstances, to speak out and act.” Has or lacks! Take your pick.
Recent events suggest that the UK runs less on a written constitution than on a handshake amongst gentlemen. It’s an inconvenient truth in a post-gentlemanly age, nor does it make monarchy less baffling.
(c) 2019 JMN