Making her annual visit to the Sandringham WI on Thursday, The Queen appeared to make reference to the divisions of the country, urging people to ‘respect other views’. She also played a game of Pointless with the shows host, Alexander Armstrong.
At West Newton village hall, not far from Sandringham, where Her Majesty spends Christmas, spoke to the assembled members in the group’s 100th year. The branch was founded in February 1919 by her grandmother Queen Mary.
Elizabeth II, who has been a member since 1943, said: “Reflecting on a century of change, it is clear that the qualities of the WI endure.
Queen’s speech calling for ‘common ground’ seen as Brexit allusion
Very welcome call for temperate language and behaviour in the frenzy that is Brexit.https://t.co/WnM1CrFYWH
— Debbie Abrahams MP (@Debbie_abrahams) January 25, 2019
“The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community focus, and considering the needs of others, are as important today as when the group was founded.
“As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture.
“To me, these approaches are timeless, and I commend them to everyone.”
“Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.”
As honorary president of Sandringham WI, The Queen presented chairwoman Mrs Browne with a vase in appreciation of her work and unveiled a plaque to celebrate the centenary.
Many think these comments alluded to the divisions in the UK right now caused by Brexit. Her Majesty is of course to remain politically neutral, but her role as Monarch works to make her a uniting figure in the realm.
A poll run by Sky yesterday found that 68% of people thought The Queen was right to make comments; just 13% think she was wrong. 11% didn’t know if this was either good or bad.
Buckingham Palace unusually responded to calls for comment, saying: “The Queen’s words speak for themselves.”
Yvonne Brown commented: “It’s our centenary year and The Queen very graciously said a few words about the fact it was our centenary and she hoped that the fun and friendship would continue into the next century.”
She said The Queen also posed for a group photograph, and was given a celebratory cake. Since the event is a private one, we only don’t get to see what goes on inside.
Each year a special guest is invited to talk to the Sandringham WI, and 2019 saw Alexander Armstrong, host of the BBC game show Pointless, entertained the 31 members.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Armstrong said the group had an impromptu go at the TV gameshow, which seeks to find the most obscure answers to questions. The hall was divided into two teams, one of which was headed by Her Majesty, and the other by Yvonne Browne, vice-president of the Sandringham WI.
It was The Queen’s team that was victorious, winning three games to one.
The Queen gave some answers herself and had “some deft, silky Pointless skills,” Armstrong said.
“It’s literally like a dream come true because I think everyone dreams they’ve had tea with The Queen, and it was the most lovely experience,” he said.
The Duchess of Cornwall attends the WI at Tetbury, The Countess of Wessex in Bagshot, while The Princess Royal is an associate member.