Queen's calls for people to find 'common ground' seen as Brexit reference
PUBLISHED: 07:57 25 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:26 25 January 2019
The Queen has encouraged people to find "common ground" and emphasised the importance of "respecting" other's points of view while visiting a Norfolk WI group.
As head of state, the Queen remains publicly neutral on political matters and does normally not express her views on contentious issues but commentators were likely to see her comments, which were made when she visited Sandringham WI on Thursday as a veiled reference to the toxic debate around Brexit.
Giving a speech celebrating the Sandringhmam WI’s centenary, the Queen, who is president of the group, said: “Reflecting on a century of change, it is clear that the qualities of the WI endure.
“The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community-focus, and considering the needs of others, are as important today as they were when the group was founded all those years ago.
“Of course, every generation faces fresh challenges and opportunities.
“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.”
The speech echoed the message of the monarch’s Christmas address when she touched on the same theme, telling the nation: “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 attends a meeting of the her local WI once a year at West Newton village hall as part of her winter stay on her Norfolk estate.
The Queen became a WI member in 1943, as the 18-year-old Princess Elizabeth.
Her mother was president of the Sandringham branch for 50 years until her death in 2002.