THE political editor of the BBC has claimed she was told by a source that the Queen backed Brexit at a private lunch before the referendum.
Laura Kuenssberg told Radio 4 on Boxing Day that the BBC did not run the story, a similar version of which landed controversially on the front page of the Sun, as it was not double sourced.
“In a casual chat with one of my contacts, they said, ‘Do you know what? At some point this is going to come out, and I’m telling you now and I don’t know if the BBC would touch it, but the Queen told people at a private lunch that she thinks that we should leave the EU,’” she said.
“Apparently at this lunch she said: ‘I don’t see why we can’t just get out. What’s the problem?’
“My jaw hit the floor. Very sadly, I only had one source. I spent the next few days trying to prove it. I couldn’t find the evidence. Lo and behold, a couple of months later, someone else did. Of course then ensued a huge row between that newspaper and the palace over what had really been said or not said.
“There were lots of moments in the referendum campaign, but for me that was one when my jaw did hit the floor. Very frustratingly, the story did eventually emerge, whether it was true or not.”
The Sun ran its story in March under the headline ‘Queen backs Brexit’ which was found to be ‘significantly misleading’ by press watchdog Ipso. The paper claimed to have two sources confirming that the Monarch had lambasted then deputy prime minister Nick Clegg over his stance on the EU.