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Queen ‘felt indebted to Blair after he convinced her to address Diana’s death’


The Queen was convinced by Tony Blair to travel back to London after Diana's death
The Queen was convinced by Tony Blair to travel back to London after Diana’s death (Picture: Rex)

The Queen was left feeling indebted to Tony Blair after he convinced her to ditch the ‘stuff upper lip’ approach to Princess Diana’s death, according to a documentary.

The first episode of Royals Declassified, which airs on Channel 4 tonight, examines the relationship between the monarch and her Prime Ministers, using the contents of recently declassified documents.

In the film, royal expert Dominic Sandbrook looks again at the aftermath of Diana’s death in a car crash in 1997.

The Queen was initially determined to stick to regular protocols and not show any emotion in public.

But she misjudged the public mood and there was an outcry over her supposed hard-heartedness.

Mr Blair, who had only just been elected as Prime Minister, travelled to Scotland to persuade her to come to London and change her approach.

Mr Sandbrook, says in the film: ‘He (Blair) understood this, the new sentimentalism that this wasn’t a sort of stiff upper lip 1950’s country anymore.

‘That the sort of ritual display of empathy, which he was very good at, and the Queen wasn’t very good at, that was, he could see, an important part of our political culture that’s becoming.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mike Hollist/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock (1158112a) Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip -- Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebrations... 20 November 1997 Queen Elizabeth II And Tony Blair Meet The People In Whitehall Outside Downing Street. Pkt 94 - 83138 Queen Elizabeth Ii & Duke Of Edinburgh -- Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebrations... 20 November 1997 Queen Elizabeth Ii And Tony Blair Meet The People In Whitehall Outside Downing Street. Pkt 94 - 83138
The documentary examines the Queen’s relationships with all her Prime Ministers (Picture: Shutterstock)
Mandatory Credit: Photo by David O'Neil/ANL/REX/Shutterstock (3095611a) The Royal Family Leaving Westminster Abbey After The Funeral Service Of Diana Princess Of Wales Including Prince And Princess Michael Of Kent Angus Ogilvy Lady Gabriella Windsor Lord Frederick Windsor And Princess Alexandra. Behind Them Are Tony Blair And Wife Cherie Blair. The Royal Family Leaving Westminster Abbey After The Funeral Service Of Diana Princess Of Wales Including Prince And Princess Michael Of Kent Angus Ogilvy Lady Gabriella Windsor Lord Frederick Windsor And Princess Alexandra. Behind Them Are Tony Blai
Diana’s death sent shockwaves around the royal family and the nation as a whole (Picture: Shutterstock)

‘Nobody likes to be in somebody else’s debt. And I think the Queen probably did feel simultaneously he had saved her, but at the same time, she didn’t like the fact that he’d done it or like him for it.’

But, Mr Sandbrook claims, the Queen’s popularity has long outlasted that of Mr Blair’s, who stepped down as PM in 2007 and was criticised for his backing of the war in Iraq.

The documentary explore the documents that tell the stories of the Queen’s meetings with various prime ministers throughout her reign.

It examines how the balance of power has shifted back and forth over the years, and how the Queen has dealt with personalities as varied as Winston Churchill, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (249803ck) Tony Blair AND Queen Elizabeth II QUEEN ELIZABETH II AND PRINCE PHILIP IN DURHAM, BRITAIN - 1995
A royal expert said the Queen felt indebted to Mr Blair (Picture: Shutterstock)
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, Trooping the Colour, 13th June 1992. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
The Queen had initially tried to stick to protocol following the tragedy (Picture: Getty)

The programme looks first at the Queen’s relationship with Mr Churchill, who was her first PM and helped guide her through the early years of her reign.

In one of the documents, the Queen’s Private Secretary, Tommy Lascelles, wrote: ‘When Winston had his weekly audience in the Bow Room – I could not hear what they talked about. But it was, more often than not, punctuated by peals of laughter, and Winston generally came out wiping his eyes.’

The Queen’s relationship with another strong Tory Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was not quite so cosy.

The pair did not always agree on the major issues of the day, as shown in the latest series of the Netflix series, The Crown.

The documentary features an interview with former Labour Foreign Secretary, David Owen, who criticises Baroness Thatcher for how she dealt the the monarch.

In particular he criticises the former PM for taking the salute from British troops returning from the Falklands War.

‘I think the Queen would have raised more than an eyebrow,’ he says of this episode. ‘I doubt she ever said anything about it. But she would have thought the less of Margaret Thatcher. It was outrageous.’

MORE : William and Kate join Queen with birthday tributes to Meghan as she turns 40

MORE : The Crown season 5: Imelda Staunton becomes Queen Elizabeth II as she’s spotted on set for first time

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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