The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997


Sir John Major’s Comments on HM the Queen – 6 February 2012

The text of Sir John Major’s comments on HM the Queen, made for the BBC programme “The Diamond Queen”, a third part series presented by Andrew Marr.

PROGRAMME 1/3 – First broadcast on Monday 6th February 2012 on BBC1

[25.33 minutes in – Referring to the weekly audiences with the Prime Minister]


It’s simply two people sitting down talking in an entirely relaxed and informal way. But they cover everything. The Queen as a Head of State has a right to know what is happening, has a right to know what her Prime Minister has in mind to do.

PROGRAMME 2/3 – First broadcast on Monday 13th February 2012 on BBC1

[26.43 minutes in – Referring to the reform of the Monarchy – Andrew Marr asked whether Sir John was worried about the status of the Monarchy during the early 1990s]


I was concerned at the shower of criticism and unpopularity that the Monarchy was facing in the short-term. I wasn’t worried about the long-term for two reasons.

Firstly, we have seen this before, Queen Victoria being an obvious example, very unpopular for a very long period of time after Prince Albert died.

Secondly, the roots of the Monarchy are so deep, that even in a period of unpopularity it can sustain that and come through at the end of it.

[49.19 minutes in – Referring to foreign state visits]


I think people may not realise around the world what an iconic figure the Queen is. The highlight of the state visit is the Buckingham Palace banquet. It does an enormous amount of good.

Can you quantify it? Very difficult.

Does it matter? Yes.

Is it in the British interest? Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Would we lose something if it wasn’t there? We certainly would.

PROGRAMME 3/3 – First broadcast on Monday 20th February 2012 on BBC1

[7.55 minutes in – Referring to his own memories of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953]


I was ten at the time and I remember my family scraping together their savings and buying a small black and white television to watch it. But it was hugely exciting, everybody was really uplifted. For most of the adults present it was the first great event since the dreary days of the war and the tough days that immediately followed, but it was symbolic of a new life people thought.