What was the Queen really trying to tell us about Brexit?
Sandringham Women’s Institute has never found itself at the forefront of political debate in all the years since it was first formed by Queen Mary.
But as we lurch towards the biggest challenge our country has faced - wars aside - for a century, the Queen gave the ladies who meet in West Newton Village Hall her candid view on how we should move forward as they met to celebrate its centenary.
The monarch, who is honorary president of the branch, traditionally gives a talk looking back over the past year.
But her words do not normally stray into the realm of politics and are not usually made public.
This time, a verbatim transcript was released shortly after she climbed into her Range Rover for the short drive home. So what is she trying to tell us?
“Reflecting on a century of change, it is clear that the qualities of the WI endure,” she said.
“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.”
In her Christmas address the Queen 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.”
Reading between the lines: Things have been getting pretty toxic of late. Even one’s government are falling out with each other. And one can’t help noticing the clock’s ticking and there’s two months to go.
So it’s about time we started listening to each other, ditched a few red lines and came up with a compromise so things don’t go pear-shaped on March 29.
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