Palace fury mounts at David Cameron as he reveals MORE private details about the Queen - saying she drives 'at breakneck speed' and is 'the only woman to have driven the King of Saudi Arabia'

  • Former PM suggested Queen could boost case for Scotland to remain in the UK   
  • Cameron caused Her Majesty 'an amount of displeasure' with claim, says source 
  • New interview released today Mr Cameron speaks about Queen's private life 
  • He said Her Majesty speeds around Balmoral as Prince Philip cooks on his BBQ
  • Queen  also asks 'incredibly perceptive questions' about PM's work, he says

David Cameron was today accused of blabbing about the Queen again as he revealed she would drive him at 'breakneck speeds' around the Balmoral estate while Prince Philip fired up his barbecue for dinner.  

The former Prime Minister also said Her Majesty is the only woman to have driven King of Saudi Arabia - and said he even double checked with King Abdullah, who banned female drivers in the Gulf state until last year.

Mr Cameron has already angered Her Majesty after boasting that he leaned on her to intervene in the Scottish independence referendum. 

In an unprecedented royal rebuke last night, Palace officials said that the former prime minister had caused Her Majesty 'an amount of displeasure' with his claim while a royal source told MailOnline: 'Make no mistake, they are furious about this.'

And today it emerged that David Cameron has been talking about how he would 'relax' with the Queen in her Balmarol 'haven' eating grouse cooked by the Duke of Edinburgh.

He told The Times' Red Box podcast: 'You get into a car, sort of seven o'clock at night, often driven by the Queen herself, driven at breakneck speed up on to the moor. 

The Prime Minister has already angered Her Majesty yesterday (pictured together at Balmoral in 2013) and has now said the Queen drove at 'breakneck speed' around the Scottish estate

The Prime Minister has already angered Her Majesty yesterday (pictured together at Balmoral in 2013) and has now said the Queen drove at 'breakneck speed' around the Scottish estate

The Queen loves driving, pictured in her Land Rover in Windsor in 2015, with David Cameron now revealing she is the only woman to drive the King of Saudi Arabia

The Queen loves driving, pictured in her Land Rover in Windsor in 2015, with David Cameron now revealing she is the only woman to drive the King of Saudi Arabia

Loose-lipped Cameron reveals secrets of his meetings with Queen 

On the Scottish referendum - 'I remember conversations I had with my private secretary and he had with the Queen's private secretary and I had with the Queen's private secretary, not asking for anything that would be in any way improper or unconstitutional, but just a raising of the eyebrow, even, you know, a quarter of an inch, we thought would make a difference.'

On private audiences with the Queen - 'You go and sit in the same room waiting for the audience to start. And then off you go. She always asked incredibly perceptive questions'

On driving royalty - 'She [the Queen] told me that when the king of Saudi Arabia stayed, she drove him. And so she's the only woman to have driven the king of Saudi Arabia. And when I went to Saudi Arabia, the king told me that story'. 

'And there's the Duke of Edinburgh cooking grouse on a barbecue a barbecue he himself has designed and built. That's extraordinary to be cooked for by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip'.

He also revealed more details about private chats with the Queen and said:  'She told me that when the king of Saudi Arabia stayed, she drove him. And so she's the only woman to have driven the king of Saudi Arabia. And when I went to Saudi Arabia, the king told me that story'.  

And revealing a little more about his weekly private audiences with the Queen he said: 'You go and sit in the same room waiting for the audience to start. The corgis almost seemed to be asleep in the same places, And then off you go', adding that Her Majesty would always ask him 'incredibly perceptive questions' about his work.

It came after Mr Cameron revealed, in a TV documentary to promote his memoirs, that he held discussions with the Royal household during the referendum campaign and suggested the Queen could boost the case for Scotland to remain in the UK. He suggested that even a 'raising of the eyebrow' would make a difference.

The revelation immediately triggered a political row, with the Scottish National Party crying foul over Mr Cameron's attempt to 'manipulate the head of state' during the bitterly fought referendum battle.

Within a few hours, the former prime minister was left embarrassed after Palace sources made clear there was intense irritation at his decision to breach the protocol governing conversations with the Queen and her senior advisors, conversations which prime ministers are expected to take to the grave.

Mr Cameron (in the BBC documentary, above) claimed the Queen was approached during the closing stages of the Scottish referendum when polls suggested the independence campaign could win

Mr Cameron (in the BBC documentary, above) claimed the Queen was approached during the closing stages of the Scottish referendum when polls suggested the independence campaign could win

This is the moment when, a week before the Scottish referendum, the Queen broke with her usual practice and spoke to well-wishers outside Crathie Kirk near Balmoral. She said she hoped the Scottish people would 'think very carefully about the future'

This is the moment when, a week before the Scottish referendum, the Queen broke with her usual practice and spoke to well-wishers outside Crathie Kirk near Balmoral. She said she hoped the Scottish people would 'think very carefully about the future'

The row was the result of a BBC documentary timed to coincide with the release of the former prime minister's memoirs. In it Mr Cameron claimed the Queen was approached during the closing stages of the Scottish referendum when polls suggested the independence campaign could win.

Mr Cameron said: 'I remember conversations I had with my private secretary and he had with the Queen's private secretary and I had with the Queen's private secretary, not asking for anything that would be in any way improper or unconstitutional, but just a raising of the eyebrow, even, you know, a quarter of an inch, we thought would make a difference.'

A week later, the Queen told a well-wisher near Balmoral that she hoped 'people would think very carefully about the future' before casting their votes. The apparently neutral comment was widely reported as a clear sign that she opposed the break-up of her kingdom. Yesterday, the SNP seized on Mr Cameron's claim as evidence of foul play during the 2014 poll.

Mr Cameron has broken convention by talking openly about private occasions with Her Majesty (pictured at No 10 in 2012)

Mr Cameron has broken convention by talking openly about private occasions with Her Majesty (pictured at No 10 in 2012)

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said: 'Begging a constitutional monarch to make a political intervention is not only totally improper, but an indication of how desperate Cameron was in the final stages of the campaign.'

Jeremy Corbyn also said Mr Cameron appeared to have acted 'improperly'. Constitutional expert Robert Hazell accused Mr Cameron of 'blabbing' about the Queen to promote his book. 'His previous career was in PR and this is a classic PR stunt,' he said.

Professor Hazell, of University College London's constitution unit, said the revelation was potentially damaging to the Queen's reputation for neutrality.

He said: 'The Queen has been a model of neutrality. This is the first occasion I can remember that that might have slipped a little bit, so I can understand her displeasure.'

Five years ago Mr Cameron had to apologise to the Queen after boasting she had 'purred down the line' after he called her to tell her Scotland had voted No to independence.

He yesterday said that had been a 'terrible mistake'. And when asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to expand on his claim that he had persuaded the Queen to intervene in the referendum he said: 'I am sure some people think – possibly even me – that I have already said too much.'

Mr Cameron is pictured with his son Arthur and daughter Nancy and Geoerge Osborne when the referendum result was declared five years ago

Mr Cameron is pictured with his son Arthur and daughter Nancy and Geoerge Osborne when the referendum result was declared five years ago

Yesterday, a senior royal source said the suggestion there was an 'amount of displeasure' at Buckingham Palace over Mr Cameron's claims was 'not unfair'.

A second source said: 'For her former prime minister to discuss their talks like this is unprecedented and will be seen as a betrayal of his office, I'm afraid.'

Baroness Fall, a former aide to Mr Cameron, denied he had made the revelation to promote his book, adding: 'I don't think he meant to embarrass anybody – least of all the Queen.'

 

No wonder one is not amused: Her Majesty relies on Prime Ministers to keep quiet about their private audiences to maintain a delicate protocol, so it's no surprise the palace has reacted with fury to David Cameron's gaffe, writes RICHARD KAY

Sacred trust: Former Prime Minister David Cameron has been accused of betraying the Queen's confidence

Sacred trust: Former Prime Minister David Cameron has been accused of betraying the Queen's confidence

No figure in public life has a greater capacity for patience nor had that forbearance tested more often than the Queen.

In recent times, provocations have come thick and fast, but still she has weathered them all with the same remarkable self-restraint that has so often served her through her 67 years as monarch.

Yesterday, however, she showed signs that there is a breaking point.

The stern rebuke from Buckingham Palace to former Prime Minister David Cameron for speaking out about how he sought her help ahead of the Scottish independence vote in 2014 is the clearest signal that she considers it not only a mere breach of good manners — plenty of politicians, including ministers, have done that in the past — but an abuse of the sacred trust that must exist between Sovereign and Prime Minister.

We can be certain that the view which emanated in a coded briefing from royal aides to the BBC that there was an ‘amount of displeasure’ over Mr Cameron’s remarks fully reflects the Queen’s attitude.

The intervention was reminiscent of the extraordinary ‘The knives are out for Fergie’ headline in 1992 when, following her separation from Prince Andrew, Palace officials attacked the Duchess of York’s ‘unruly behaviour’ and questioned her suitability for royal life.

But, on that occasion, the aide who provided the briefing — also to the BBC — was later forced into a climbdown and an apology.

Yesterday, Buckingham Palace showed no sign of a change of heart. ‘It’s a fair description,’ an official said of the briefing. ‘No one is backtracking on it.’

What stung the Palace was not just Mr Cameron’s revelation in a BBC documentary to promote his memoirs that he had asked whether the Queen could ‘raise an eyebrow’ at the prospect of Scotland voting for independence — but also the fact that he was making it clear he had used the Queen for his own political purposes, and that she and her advisers thought that was OK.

No figure in public life has a greater capacity for patience nor had that forbearance tested more often than the Queen

No figure in public life has a greater capacity for patience nor had that forbearance tested more often than the Queen

The Queen has always nobly strived — and succeeded — to be above politics. And, at the time of the referendum, Buckingham Palace was at great pains to stress that it was a matter for the Scottish people, not the monarch, who would accept the result whichever way it went.

Privately, of course, the Queen, who has a very personal, life-long love of Scotland, as well as being the nation’s head of state, was deeply concerned at the possibility of a split in the union.

It was while staying with the Queen at Balmoral less than two weeks before the independence vote that the Cameron plan to ask her to help took shape.

Shaken by a Sunday Times poll putting the Yes campaign ahead, he says there was a ‘mounting sense of panic’, and urgent conversations began between advisers in Downing Street and at the Palace.

He recalled ‘not asking for anything that would be in any way improper or unconstitutional, but just a raising of the eyebrow, even, you know, a quarter of an inch’.

Seven days later, while speaking to a well-wisher outside Crathie Kirk — the Balmoral parish church — the Queen urged people to ‘think very carefully about the future’.

It was four days before the vote and became one of the main talking points of the campaign.

Reacting to David Cameron’s decision to bring it up now, royal sources say ‘it serves no one’s interests’ for conversations between a PM and the Queen to be made public. ‘It makes it very hard for the relationship to thrive,’ they added.

In the inscrutable language of Court circles, this is about as close to screaming blue murder.

The Queen, who is currently at Balmoral, has been closely following developments.

The timing of Mr Cameron’s misguided disclosure is so crucial. It is an unwelcome distraction at a time when the monarch is already, controversially, at the centre of the bitter Supreme Court battle between Remainers and the Government over the proroguing of Parliament and whether Boris Johnson lied to the Queen about it.

Nor was this the first time that Mr Cameron has been indiscreet.

In the aftermath of the Scottish vote, he let slip how the Queen had ‘purred down the line’ when he phoned her with the result.

On that occasion, she kept her feelings to herself.

Is it any wonder that, as someone who has herself stuck correctly to the conventions of absolute silence on conversations with her 14 different prime ministers, she is unnerved by the way these courtesies are no longer always observed?

For decades, the Queen could rely on the diplomatic good sense of the holders of her kingdom’s most important political position. But the rot set in with Tony Blair, whose autobiography trampled over the protocol of omerta that normally applies to PM and monarch.

He related conversations in detail, including the strained dealings that followed the death of Princess Diana.

He also described at length his visits to Balmoral, an experience he described as a combination of the ‘intriguing, the surreal and the utterly freaky’.

They were, he said, a ‘bit of a horror’ made bearable by the generous drinks poured before dinner that acted like ‘true rocket fuel’.

He also said the Queen, on occasion, exhibited ‘hauteur’ — and he famously disclosed how, on his very first audience after the 1997 election, she had told him: ‘You are my tenth prime minister. The first was Winston. That was before you were born.’

At the time, Mr Blair was accused of a gross discourtesy, particularly for ignoring the unwritten rule that formal audiences between premier and Queen are entirely private, with no note-taking.

Boris Johnson breached protocol, too, following his first meeting with Her Majesty as Prime Minister.

No sooner had he left the Palace than he was overheard telling Downing Street staff that she had amusingly told him she didn’t know why anyone would want to be Prime Minister.

Although it undoubtedly demonstrated that the Queen has a dry sense of humour, Mr Johnson’s comment was a serious error.

Of course, Brexit has meant problems, too.

Three years ago, Michael Gove was named as the source of a red-top tabloid newspaper story that claimed the Queen backed Britain leaving the EU.

It was based on an apparent conversation with MPs several years earlier in which she allegedly said: ‘I don’t understand Europe.’ It was reported that she spoke the words with ‘venom and emotion’.

The same paper also reported an alleged exchange between the Queen and then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg over lunch at Windsor Castle.

It claimed she told the pro-Europe Clegg that the EU was heading in the wrong direction.

Clegg denied the story, and the Palace made a formal complaint about the newspaper’s ‘misleading’ and ‘distorted’ headline, which was ruled to be inaccurate.

Aides will pray that admonishing David Cameron will ensure that the normal diplomacy between Sovereign and Prime Minister can return.

In the partisan and febrile atmosphere currently engulfing politics, however, that seems a forlorn hope.

 

Palace fury mounts at David Cameron as he reveals more private details about the Queen

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.