Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has urged people to respect different points of view and seek “common ground,” in comments widely interpreted as a reference to divisions over Brexit.
The remarks came in a speech at the Women’s Institute in Sandringham on Thursday, reported by Britain’s Press Association news agency.
The Queen’s intervention was highly unusual — throughout her seven decades on the throne, she has been determined to maintain the modern tradition of the British monarch remaining apolitical.
“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,” the Queen said.
The Queen makes an annual visit to Women’s Institute members near her Sandringham estate in Norfolk. The Women’s Institute, which describes itself as the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK, has almost 220,000 members.
Her comments echoed sentiments in her Christmas broadcast a month ago, in which the Queen also urged people to respect others with opposing views.
“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,” the Queen said then.
Lawmakers in the House of Commons are due to vote next week on Prime Minister Theresa May’s “Plan B” for leaving the European Union after her proposed divorce deal, painfully negotiated with EU leaders, was rejected by a huge majority last week in Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Brexit debate has become increasingly heated as the date on which the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU — March 29 — gets ever closer.
Business leaders and EU politicians have ramped up their warnings this week over the risks posed by a disorderly Brexit if the UK crashes out of the bloc without a deal.