'The Crown' Recreates Queen Elizabeth's 'Annus Horribilis' Speech (2023)

Episode 4 of The Crown's fifth season is ominously titled"Annus Horribilis." It's a unique phrase, one that was popularized by Queen Elizabeth II during her Ruby Jubilee speech in November 1992.

As the year was drawing to an end, the queen used the speech to reflect on the scandals that had rocked the royal family over the previous months, admitting,"1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure."

From the constant pressattention on Prince Charles' unhappy marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, to paparazzi scandals surrounding Prince Andrew's split from Sarah Ferguson, to the Windsor Castle fire that caused millions in damage to the royal family's primary residence, there was plenty for the queen to be distraught about at the end of 1992, and The Crown explores it all in the moving episode.

Here's alook at all the things that conspired to make the year the queen's "annus horribilis."

The Scandals

Undoubtedly thebiggest royal scandalin 1992 -- and for much of the '90s -- was the media scrutiny surrounding Princess Diana, and the end of her marriage to Prince Charles. But 1992 was the year of two major breaches of trust between Diana and the royal family.

First, was the publication ofAndrew Morton's tell-all book, Diana: Her True Story.Upon its release, Morton claimed that he did not interview Diana for the book, but it was later discovered that she recorded a series of stream-of-consciousness recordings with her friend, James Colthurst, that Morton used to craft the book.

The biography featured shocking revelations including Diana's multiple suicide attempts, memorably one where she threw herself down a flight of stairs while pregnant withPrince William, her struggles with eating disorders, and the difficult life she faced within the royal family.

Royal Family Receives Apology From BBC Over Controversial Princess Diana Interview

This video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors.

If you are using ad-blocking software, please disable it and reload the page.

(Video) Side by Side Comparisons of The Crown Season 5 Cast VS Real-Life Royals

The Splits

1992 was a tumultuous year for royal marriages, as Princess Anne finalized her divorce from her first husband, CaptainMark Phillips, with whom she shares two children, and, months later, marriedCommanderSirTimothy Laurence, whom she had met while he served as her mother'sequerry.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, also announced his separation from wife Sarah Ferguson in 1992, following long periods of estrangement and public speculation about Fergie'srelationship withTexan multimillionaire Steve Wyatt. In August of that year,the Daily Mirrorpublished paparazzi photographs of John Bryan, an American financial manager, kissing Sarah's toes as she sunbathed topless, inviting further scandal on the royal family.

And finally, of course, there was Charles and Diana. Following the pair's very public extramarital affairs, the "Camillagate" scandal and the release of Morton's book, British Prime MinisterJohn Majorannounced the couple'slegal separationin Parliament in December 1992. While their divorce would not be finalized for several more years, the writing was on the wall by the end of the "annus horribilis."

'The Crown' Recreates Queen Elizabeth's 'Annus Horribilis' Speech (1)

The Fire

Perhaps the most flagrant and public example of the royal family's misfortunecame on Nov. 20, 1992 when a fire broke out in Windsor Castle, the official residence of the queen.The fire began in the queen's Private Chapelwhen a curtain was ignited by a spotlight pressed up against it. Over the next 12 hours, the fire spread throughout the residence, destroying parts of the structure, priceless furniture and works of art.

The fire caused extensive damage and the repairs over the next few years cost£36.5 million.Items from the Royal Collection lost include the SirWilliam Beechey portraitGeorge III and the Prince of Wales Reviewing Troops, which was too large for firefighters to remove, several items of porcelain,multiple chandeliers,the Willis organand the 1851Great ExhibitionAxminster carpet.Peter Brooke, then the Secretary of State for National Heritage, called the fire a "national disaster."

'The Crown' Recreates Queen Elizabeth's 'Annus Horribilis' Speech (2)

The Speech

"Annus Horribilis" ends with the queen's speech at Guildhall on Nov. 24 1992, marking her Ruby Jubilee, the 40th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. In her speech, the queen reflects on the difficult year, as well as the recent Windsor Castle fire.

(Video) Top 10 Things The Crown Season 5 Got Factually Right & Wrong

Read the full text of the queen's speech below:

My Lord Mayor,

Could I say, first, how delighted I am that the Lady Mayoress is here today.

This great hall has provided me with some of the most memorable events of my life. The hospitality of the City of London is famous around the world, but nowhere is it more appreciated than among the members of my family. I am deeply grateful that you, my Lord Mayor, and the Corporation, have seen fit to mark the fortieth anniversary of my Accession with this splendid lunch, and by giving me a picture which I will greatly cherish.

Thank you also for inviting representatives of so many organisations with which I and my family have special connections, in some cases stretching back over several generations. To use an expression more common north of the Border, this is a real 'gathering of the clans'.

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'. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so. Indeed, I suspect that there are very few people or institutions unaffected by these last months of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty. This generosity and whole-hearted kindness of the Corporation of the City to Prince Philip and me would be welcome at any time, but at this particular moment, in the aftermath of Friday's tragic fire at Windsor, it is especially so.

And, after this last weekend, we appreciate all the more what has been set before us today. Years of experience, however, have made us a bit more canny than the lady, less well versed than us in the splendours of City hospitality, who, when she was offered a balloon glass for her brandy, asked for 'only half a glass, please'.

It is possible to have too much of a good thing. A well-meaning Bishop was obviously doing his best when he told Queen Victoria, "Ma'am, we cannot pray too often, nor too fervently, for the Royal Family". The Queen's reply was: "Too fervently, no; too often, yes". I, like Queen Victoria, have always been a believer in that old maxim "moderation in all things".

I sometimes wonder how future generations will judge the events of this tumultuous year. I dare say that history will take a slightly more moderate view than that of some contemporary commentators. Distance is well-known to lend enchantment, even to the less attractive views. After all, it has the inestimable advantage of hindsight.

But it can also lend an extra dimension to judgement, giving it a leavening of moderation and compassion - even of wisdom - that is sometimes lacking in the reactions of those whose task it is in life to offer instant opinions on all things great and small.

No section of the community has all the virtues, neither does any have all the vices. I am quite sure that most people try to do their jobs as best they can, even if the result is not always entirely successful. He who has never failed to reach perfection has a right to be the harshest critic.

There can be no doubt, of course, that criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life. No institution - City, Monarchy, whatever - should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don't.

But we are all part of the same fabric of our national society and that scrutiny, by one part of another, can be just as effective if it is made with a touch of gentleness, good humour and understanding.

This sort of questioning can also act, and it should do so, as an effective engine for change. The City is a good example of the way the process of change can be incorporated into the stability and continuity of a great institution. I particularly admire, my Lord Mayor, the way in which the City has adapted so nimbly to what the Prayer Book calls "The changes and chances of this mortal life".

(Video) The Crown | Season 5 Official Trailer | Netflix

You have set an example of how it is possible to remain effective and dynamic without losing those indefinable qualities, style and character. We only have to look around this great hall to see the truth of that.

Forty years is quite a long time. I am glad to have had the chance to witness, and to take part in, many dramatic changes in life in this country. But I am glad to say that the magnificent standard of hospitality given on so many occasions to the Sovereign by the Lord Mayor of London has not changed at all. It is an outward symbol of one other unchanging factor which I value above all - the loyalty given to me and to my family by so many people in this country, and the Commonwealth, throughout my reign.

You, my Lord Mayor, and all those whose prayers - fervent, I hope, but not too frequent - have sustained me through all these years, are friends indeed. Prince Philip and I give you all, wherever you may be, our most humble thanks.

And now I ask you to rise and drink the health of the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London.

The Crown season 5 is streaming now on Netflix.


What's Next on 'The Crown'? Everything We Know About Season 5

Camillagate: Dominic West, Olivia Williams on the 1992 Phone Leak

Princess Diana's Revenge Dress on 'The Crown': Real-Life Details

This video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors.

If you are using ad-blocking software, please disable it and reload the page.

(Video) The Crown Receives CRITICISM That The Show Is CRUEL To King Charles..


By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Related Gallery

'The Crown' Season 5 London Premiere -- Red Carpet Arrivals

(Video) The Crown: Show vs Real Life


What speech did Elizabeth 2 say about Annus Horribilis? ›

Noting her family's recent challenges, she 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.”

Why did the Queen refer to 1992 was Annus Horribilis? ›

Annus horribilis is a Latin phrase which translates as 'horrible year', and the Queen used it to refer to arguably the worst year of her reign. 1992 contained a series of events which brought the royal family into disrepute and changed the public's perception of the monarchy.

What is the crown Annus Horribilis? ›

The usage of the term 'Annus Horribilis' speaks to the trauma caused to the Queen by what she termed as possibly the worst year of her reign and her life.

What is the Queen's speech in The Crown season 5? ›

The Queen then goes on to make her speech, which in the show goes as follows: "My Lord Mayor, the anniversary of any occasion is a time to reflect. But in light of the events of the last 12 months, perhaps I have more to reflect on than most. 1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.

What was the purpose of Elizabeth's speech? ›

Her speech was expected to address their concerns about pricing, based on the recent economic issues facing the country. But to everyone's surprise, Elizabeth instead used the occasion to express the love she felt for her subjects, and how she viewed her position as their queen.

What was the purpose of Queen Elizabeth's speech in 1588? ›

Intro. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 has long been held as one of England's greatest military achievements. This document records the famous speech delivered by Queen Elizabeth to her troops who were assembled at Tilbury Camp to defend the country against a Spanish invasion.

What is the controversy with the royal family? ›

The coronation has faced setbacks due to recent royal family scandals, including Prince Andrew's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and accusations against him of sexual abuse. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have also been embroiled in controversy with their accusations against the royal family and the UK press.

What was the speech the Queen gave in 1992? ›

“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,'” she said during the speech. “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.

What is the plural of annus horribilis? ›

plural anni horribiles ˈa-ˌnī-hȯr-ˈi-bə-ˌlēz.

Did the royal family have a say in The Crown? ›

While some members of the royal family, like Prince William and his late grandfather Prince Philip, have chosen to abstain from watching the fictionalized retelling of the late Queen Elizabeth II's reign, others have openly admitted to turning on the critically acclaimed series.

Was the Queen's crown passed down? ›

There are special rules to decide who can inherit the crown. The monarch's first child is first in line to the throne. This child is the Prince or Princess of Wales, currently Prince Charles. He will become the monarch when Queen Elizabeth II dies.

Is the royal crown passed down? ›

Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex, legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line.

What happened in the year annus horribilis? ›

'Annus Horribilis': Why Queen Elizabeth II Called 1992 a Horrible Year. Marriage troubles for three out of her four children, humiliating press, a racy book and a fire at Windsor Castle all added to the year's misery.

Why are people upset with The Crown season 5? ›

In a 2020 Times of London article, the outlet reported that “Prince William was said to be upset by the scenes that show Charles verbally abusing Diana. A source said he feels 'his parents are being exploited and presented in a false, simplistic way to make money. '” Major, for one, called for a boycott.

Did the Queen ever watch the king's speech? ›

Queen Elizabeth II, the daughter and successor of King George VI, was sent two copies of the film before Christmas 2010. The Sun newspaper reported she had watched the film in a private screening at Sandringham House. A palace source described her reaction as being "touched by a moving portrayal of her father".

What was queen Elizabeth's last words? ›

Queen Elizabeth II is also a successor of Queen Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin Queen, who was Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 until her death in 1603. According to RMG, Queen Elizabeth I's last words were, “All my possessions for one moment of time.”

Why did queen Elizabeth give the Golden Speech? ›

The Golden Speech was delivered by Queen Elizabeth I of England in the Palace Council Chamber to 141 Members of the Commons (including the Speaker), on 30 November 1601. It was a speech that was expected to address some pricing concerns, based on the recent economic issues facing the country.

What is Elizabeth's famous speech? ›

I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.

Why didn t the Queen do the speech? ›

This was because a special documentary film - 'Royal Family' - had been made during the summer in connection with the Investiture of The Prince of Wales. It was therefore decided not to do a broadcast at Christmas, but The Queen issued a written message instead.

What did Elizabeth think of the king's speech? ›

Freya Wilson in The King's Speech (2010)

It's reported that the Queen, upon seeing the film, gave it her blessing, quite moved by its depiction of the King.

What is the biggest queen controversy? ›

Perhaps the most famous scandal during her reign had to do with the marriage, divorce and death of Princess Diana—aka the people's princess. When Prince Charles married Diana Spencer, the queen was supposedly displeased.

Did the Queen bow to Diana's coffin? ›

The queen stood with her family, and as Diana's funeral cortege passed by, she bowed her head. It was not a quick bow, nor a shallow one. The woman accustomed to being bowed by the world now lowered her head and humbly honored the princess.

What was the Royal Family of inbreds? ›

The 'Habsburg jaw' was a biological result from generations of inbreeding. In a bid to keep their power, the Habsburgs kept everything within the family. They relied on 'consanguine' marriages that partnered close relatives, such as first cousins, or uncles with their nieces.

What was the first message of the Queen? ›

In 1957, Elizabeth II delivered the first televised message, saying that it was a technological landmark that "television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes on Christmas Day".

What are some famous words from the Queen? ›

"Even when your life seems most monotonous, what you do is always of real value and importance to your fellow men." "Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones; my own is no exception." "Grief is the price we pay for love."

What started the fire at Windsor Castle? ›

The fire began in the Queen's Private Chapel at 11:15am when a curtain was ignited by a spotlight pressed up against it. Agents of the Royal Household were in the chapel at the time inspecting works of art.

What does annus horribilis mean in english? ›

​the Latin for 'horrible year'.

What English words Cannot be plural? ›

Some nouns do not have plural forms because they cannot be counted. These are called noncount nouns, or mass nouns. Some common noncount nouns are water, rice, sand, butter, mud, rain, advice, homework, progress, and music.

What does annus mean in English? ›

annus [anni] (2nd) M. noun. age, time of life ▼ noun. circuit, course ▼ noun. year (astronomical / civil) ▼ noun.

Did Queen Elizabeth love Diana? ›

According to Seward in The Queen & Di, although Elizabeth was initially sympathetic to Diana, eventually the stoic monarch felt that the emotional Princess was simply too much to handle.

Did Harry and Meghan watch The Crown? ›

Yes, Prince Harry Watches (and “Fact-Checks”) The Crown.

Did the royal family like Diana? ›

The two appeared to share a friendly and formal relationship through the years. They seemed to be on good terms even after Charles and Diana's separation.

What happens to the Queen's jewels when she dies? ›

They stay safeguarded at the Tower of London in safekeeping for the nation, and when one monarch dies, the crown jewels are immediately passed to their heir.” So the Queen's former crown, sceptre and orb now belong to her son, King Charles III.

Will King Charles wear the same crown as Queen Elizabeth? ›

King Charles will wear the St. Edward's Crown, which was last used for crowning Elizabeth II in 1953. The crown is made of a solid gold frame that weighs nearly five pounds along with a purple velvet cap and an ermine band.

Whose crown will Camilla wear? ›

For the ceremony, Camilla has decided to wear Queen Mary's Crown, which marks the first time since the 18th century that a consort will use an existing crown for their coronation.

Will Harry inherit from the Queen? ›

So what will Prince Harry inherit from Queen Elizabeth? Representatives told Forbes in 2021 that Harry was not a beneficiary of any of the $100 million left to the royal family by his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother.

Can a first born daughter be Queen? ›

It ended the system by which the son of a monarch takes precedence over a daughter in the line of succession; now, the eldest child (or person next in line to the throne) will become monarch, regardless of the gender of any siblings.

Will Princess Charlotte ever be Queen? ›

Princess Charlotte

She would become Queen only if Prince George predeceased her without having any living children.

Which castle burned in 1992? ›

A fire at Windsor Castle has been remembered 30 years after it broke out. Starting in a private chapel on the first floor of the north-east wing on 20 November 1992, the blaze caused millions of pounds worth of damage.

Does Annus mean year? ›

Term: ANNUS. Definition: Annus means a year in Latin. It's a word used to describe the time it takes for the Earth to complete one orbit around the sun.

What happened in 1992 in England? ›

This year was the Ruby Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. This year is notable for a fourth-term general election victory for the Conservative Party; "Black Wednesday" (16 September), the suspension of the UK's membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism; and an annus horribilis for the Royal Family.

What is the most controversial episode of The Crown? ›

The Queen's secret cousins

The episode revealed that – as in real life – the sisters had been wrongly listed in the 1963 edition of Burke's Peerage as having died in 1940. But the sisters lived for decades longer: Katherine died aged 87 in 2014, while her sister Nerissa died aged 66 in 1986.

How truthful is The Crown? ›

The series is inspired by real-life events of Queen Elizabeth II starting in 1947 when she marries Prince Philip. 'The Crown' has always been controversial due to the creative liberties taken with historical events and the personal lives of the royal family, but that hasn't stopped people from watching.

Why can't you speak to the Queen first? ›

You're not supposed to initiate conversation or call out to a royal. "Technically speaking, you're not supposed to engage in conversation, or call out to them," Harrold said. "Royals are supposed to begin the conversation. You'll notice they start it, so they can be in control of the time.

Which English king stuttered? ›

King George VI, who reigned from 1937 until his death in 1952, has been depicted among the prominent people on the Foundation's list of famous people who stutter.

How accurate is the king's speech? ›

Ludo Max, UW associate professor of speech and hearing sciences, says that the movie is an accurate portrayal of stuttering and of the techniques used to overcome the speech disorder during the 1930s and 1940s. But there are some inconsistencies with what is known today about stuttering.

What is the famous speech of Queen Elizabeth 2? ›

  • The Queen's Coronation Day Speech, June 2, 1953. Queen Elizabeth started out her reign with a memorable speech. ...
  • Opening of Parliament, November 1, 1960. ...
  • Centenary of the Entente Cordiale, April 5, 2004. ...
  • The Queen's Pandemic Speech, April 5, 2020.
Sep 23, 2022

Did the queens dad have a speech problem? ›

Before ascending the throne as George VI, the Duke of York dreaded public speaking because of a severe stammer; his closing speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley on 31 October 1925 proved an ordeal for speaker and listeners alike.

What were Queen Elizabeth II's last words? ›

At the time of her death she was reported to have a full inch of makeup on her face. Her rumoured last words were: “All my possessions for one moment of time.” Historians believe this statement is apocryphal. The Queen's Lady of the Bedchamber refused to allow Elizabeth's body to be subject to a post-mortem.

Why did Queen Elizabeth give a speech when she was 21? ›

A speech by The Queen to mark Australia's bicentenary.

Why did Queen Elizabeth give the Golden Speech? ›

The Golden Speech was delivered by Queen Elizabeth I of England in the Palace Council Chamber to 141 Members of the Commons (including the Speaker), on 30 November 1601. It was a speech that was expected to address some pricing concerns, based on the recent economic issues facing the country.

What problems did Elizabeth face when she came to the throne? ›

Elizabeth came to power in 1558, inheriting problems with religion, poverty and foreign policy . She became queen after both her brother, Edward VI (1537-1553), and her sister, Mary I (1516-1558), had died.

What is king's main purpose in his speech? ›

Popularly known as the "I have a Dream" speech, the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. influenced the Federal government to take more direct actions to more fully realize racial equality.

Did the queens family know she was dying? ›

Though many members of the royal family rushed to Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday upon hearing the news of Queen Elizabeth II's declining health, only a few were able to see her before she died.

What was the queens worst speech? ›

The “Annus Horribilis Speech,” as it has come to be known, marked the close of a difficult 40th year in power for Queen Elizabeth II. She closed with a plea for kindness: “No institution… should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don't.


1. The Crown: The Official Podcast | Episode 501
(Still Watching Netflix)
2. The Crown: The Official Podcast | Episode 504
(Still Watching Netflix)
3. Criticism Of New Season Of 'The Crown': The Actors Speak Out | ROYAL FLAIR
(Royal Flair)
4. Queen Elizabeth II | The Longest Reigning Monarch | Real-Life Film
5. The Evolution Of Queen Elizabeth II From 1926 TO 2020
(Great Minds)
6. A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II has been crafted – out of red wine spilled on a CARPET
(SWNS Digital)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kelle Weber

Last Updated: 02/06/2023

Views: 6307

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kelle Weber

Birthday: 2000-08-05

Address: 6796 Juan Square, Markfort, MN 58988

Phone: +8215934114615

Job: Hospitality Director

Hobby: tabletop games, Foreign language learning, Leather crafting, Horseback riding, Swimming, Knapping, Handball

Introduction: My name is Kelle Weber, I am a magnificent, enchanting, fair, joyous, light, determined, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.