‘Annus Horribilis’: Why Queen Elizabeth II Called 1992 a Horrible Year

Queen Elizabeth II called 1992 her “annus horribilis”, or horrible year, in a speech marking the 40e year of his reign, saying, “1992 is not a year I will look back on with unmitigated pleasure. In the words of one of my friendliest correspondents, he turned out to be an “Annus Horribilis”.

The marriages of three of his four children have ended; there was a fire at his beloved home, Windsor Castle; and the publication of a racy book and the leaking of phone conversations from Princess Diana and Prince Charles to their lovers – known as the “Squidgygate Tapes” and “Camillagate”, respectively – added scandal to a year in which taxpayers questioned the cost of the royal family. The media’s scrutiny of these issues has exacerbated the Queen’s private pain.

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