The Queen has had ‘a very difficult time behind the scenes’ and is struggling to write her Christmas speech after a challenging year, according to a royal source.
Her Majesty, 93, often covers some family highlights within her Christmas day message, but is said to be finding the speech difficult to pen this year after a turbulent few months for the royals.
A royal source told Katie Nichol at Vanity Fair: ‘It’s still at a first-draft stage because of the election, but it probably hasn’t been the easiest speech to write. It has been a very difficult time behind the scenes, and morale is at a bit of a low.’
The royal family has weathered several controversies this year, with the Queen recently sacking Prince Andrew over his part in the Epstein scandal, and Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan Markle, 38, reportedly feuding with the rest of the family.
Some royal commentators are suggesting that The Queen has faced her toughest year since 1992, when Charles and Diana announced they were separating and Princess Anne announced she was divorcing her husband Mark Philips.
The royal famously nicknamed the year ‘annus horribilis’ and ‘not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.’
The source has now revealed that the royal is finding the task of writing her Christmas speech a little daunting this year, due to the on-going difficulties within the royal family.
The queen’s biographer Sally Bedell Smith suggested that the Queen will lean on Prince Charles, 71, throughout this period, whom she admires and is feeling ‘closer to than ever’.
Last month, the Duke of York was forced to step back from his public duties following a disastrous television interview about his friendship with Epstein.
The scandal forced the prince to resign from his patronages and royal duties, although there were reports yesterday that he planned to make his first public appearance on Christmas Day, by joining the Queen and other Royal Family members at the church service at Sandringham in Norfolk.
During his disastrous Emily Maitlis interview on Newsnight, the duke denied they had discussed the Epstein scandal or Miss Roberts’ claims that she was forced into having sex with Andrew.
Virginia Roberts, now a married mother-of-three, gave an extraordinary interview to the BBC’s Panorama – aired last week – in which she said she was ‘abused’ by Andrew and left feeling ‘ashamed and dirty’.
Her lawyer Mr Scarola said: ‘We want Prince Andrew to give evidence under oath and tell us all he knew about Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.’
Andrew has said he would co-operate with law enforcement authorities ‘if required’.
Meanwhile it has also been a challenging year for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, with rumours of a fued between the couple and the rest of the family.