In 1992, the Queen spoke of her family's 'horrible year'. But 2019 was worse.

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In 1992, in a speech marking the 40th anniversary of her accession – her ruby jubilee – the Queen referred to her family’s ‘annus horriblus‘ – a Latin phrase meaning ‘horrible year’.

Her Majesty said: “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.

“In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.”

So what happened to the royals in 1992?

Well… what didn’t happen should really be the question.

Meghan speaks about her struggles in Meghan and Harry: An African Journey. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

That year, three of the Queen’s children were separated or divorced and her nephew, Prince Albrecht of Hohenlohe-Langenburg died.

Then there was Fergie’s infamous toe-sucking scandal as well as the publication of Andrew Morton’s tell-all book on Princess Diana, written with the cooperation of the princess herself.


Diana was still married to Prince Charles at the time but had been brutally honest about the dysfunctional state of their relationship.

And if the book wasn’t bad enough, it was closely followed by the release of recorded private conversations between the Diana and her friend, James Gilbey.

The scandal was known as “Squidgygate” after the pet name Gilbey used for Diana throughout the conversations.

Oh, and there was a huge fire at Windsor Castle.

Annus horriblis indeed.

But when it comes to horrible years for the royals, there might be just one that trumps it: we’re looking at you, 2019.

Here’s a recap of the royal family’s ‘annus horriblis’: the second coming.

2019 was not kind to the royal family. Image: Getty.

Prince Phillip's car crash.

The car crash year kicked off with a literal car crash when Prince Phillip, 97, overturned his vehicle after a collision with another car just outside the Sandringham Estate.

The two women who'd been travelling in the other vehicle were taken to hospital with minor injuries. (A nine month old baby who was with them was mercifully unhurt.)

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Luckily, no one was seriously injured. Image: Getty

The Duke of Edinburgh apologised and voluntarily surrendered his driving licence before the Crown Prosecution Service decided no further action should be taken against him.

Prince William and Prince Harry's rift.

It hasn't just been the older royals causing controversy this year. In March, Kensington Palace announced that the Cambridge and Sussex households would go their separate ways, with Harry and Meghan starting a new foundation while Kate and William kept the existing one.

This came after rumours of a rift between the brothers as well as an unconfirmed report that Meghan and Kate had fallen out in the run up to Meghan and Harry's wedding.

In an ITV documentary, Harry confirmed the rift with William, saying they were "on different paths."

"Stuff happens. But, look, we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers,” he said. "The majority of the stuff is created out of nothing but as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days."

Prince Harry confirmed the rift in an ITV doco. Image: Getty.

Boris Johnson drags the Queen into Brexit.

In August, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson dragged the Queen into a constitutional crisis, asking her to suspend Parliament for five weeks, cutting time to block a no-deal Brexit.

Her Majesty approved the request but the prorogation was latter ruled "unlawful" by the Supreme Court.

michael fagan incident queen
The Queen had her orders revoked. Image: Getty.

Harry and Meghan wage war on tabloids.

2019 was a particularly tumultuous year for Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle. While the tabloids have always been quick to criticise Meghan for pretty much... well, anything, it was after the birth of the couple's son, Archie, in May, that they buckled under the constant scrutiny.

The couple was criticised for keeping details of Archie's birth and christening private, Meghan was attacked for attending Wimbledon weeks after giving birth, and the tabloids went to town on the couple when they took four private jets in the space of just 11 days, calling them hypocrites for talking about climate change.

After their African tour in September, it was announced that the Duchess of Sussex would be suing the Mail on Sunday and its parent company after they published a private letter from her father.

meghan markle interview what did she say
It was a move that was unprecedented for the royals. Image: Getty.

Following the announcement, Prince Harry launched a scathing attack on the tabloid press, likening their treatment of his wife to that of his mother, Princess Diana.

"Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself,” he said

"I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."

Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein.

If car crashes, household splits and Boris Johnson were bad, what happened next was worse. So much worse.


In November, Prince Andrew, 59, decided to set the record straight about his alleged association with now deceased convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and to defend himself against his own allegations of sexual assault.

It backfired spectacularly.

Prince Andrew BBC
The interview transcended 'train wreck' levels of bad. Image: BBC.

When asked by BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis if he remembered dancing with a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts-Giuffre (his alleged victim) at a London nightclub in 2001 before leaving with her, Prince Andrew claimed that night he had in fact gone to a Pizza Express restaurant with his daughter Beatrice.


In fact, he claimed, he'd never even met Roberts-Giuffre. When confronted with a photograph of them together he claimed the image had been doctored.

His failure to acknowledge or express any sympathy for Epstein's victims was the final nail in his coffin.

The following week it was announced that Prince Andrew would be stepping down from his royal duties for the foreseeable future.


The problems of 2019 were never more evident when Christmas rolled around. Meghan and Harry chose to spend Archie's first Christmas in Canada, far away from family. Prince Andrew was nowhere to be seen during the Christmas morning church service at Sandringham.

And eagle-eyed viewers couldn't help noticing that during the Queen's Christmas address, photographs of the aforementioned family members were absent from her desk.

In the speech, viewed by 7.85 million people, the Queen acknowledged her family's turbulent year.

"The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference," she said.

She didn't repeat her 1992 phrase 'annus horriblis' this year - but maybe that's because 2019 has been even worse.

Featured image: Getty.