Queen Elizabeth II, who was at a state banquet in Berlin as part of a four-day visit to Germany, said that “division in Europe is dangerous“.
The apparent pro-EU comments were made in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister David Cameron, who wants to reform the UK’s EU membership.
Although the Queen’s speech appeared to offer subtle hints that she believed Britain ought to stay in the European Union, Buckingham Palace has denied that it amounted to such.
A spokesperson said that the Monarch was not making a political point by saying that division in Europe was dangerous.
The British monarch espoused the benefits of cooperation between European nations as she remembered the “worst” events of the continent’s history during her speech on Wednesday night.
Her comments have been interpreted as endorsing the UK’s membership of the EU. However, Palace officials denied that the Queen was expressing a political stance.
The Queen’s unusual intervention into European politics coincided with the publication of a report suggesting a British exit from the EU could take a decade to negotiate and be fraught with economics risk.
The monarch was hosted by 75-year-old German President Joachim Gauck, who was once an anti-communist civil rights activist in East Germany.
From the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Euroskeptic Foreign Minister Philip Hammond were in attendance at the banquet.
Speaking directly to Gauck, the Queen said: “In our lives, Mr. President, we have seen the worst, but also the best of our continent. We have witnessed how quickly things can change for the better. But we know that we must work hard to maintain the benefits of the post-war world.
“We know that division in Europe is dangerous and that we must guard against it in the west as well as in the east of our continent.”
In a show of agreement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported to have nodded vigorously during the Queen’s speech.
Several media outlets have interpreted the Queen’s speech as hinting at a desire for Britain to remain in the EU.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson has denied this, saying, “The queen’s speech speaks for itself on the threats of division and the benefits of unity. As ever, the queen is above politics and is politically neutral on the EU.”
During her short speech, Queen Elizabeth referenced important events in European history, tracing the “long, slow” development of democracy from the Magna Carta in Britain to Germany’s first freely elected legislature in Frankfurt in 1848.
The monarch’s comments in Berlin follow a carefully scripted intervention in British politics in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum, in which she asked voters to “think very carefully.”
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