Queen Elizabeth Was Reportedly Very Distressed With The Divorces Of Prince Charles, Prince Andrew And Princess Anne

Queen Elizabeth reportedly had a very difficult time when three out of her four children’s very public divorces happened throughout the ’90s.

In the upcoming biography, Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II, author Robert Hardman elaborates on the Queen’s private pain as the marriages of Prince CharlesPrince Andrew and Princess Anne all ended.

queen elizabeth was reportedly very distressed with the divorces of prince charles, prince andrew and princess anne
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“Outwardly stoical, as ever, the Queen Elizabeth was finding the divorce talks deeply upsetting,” Hardman writes in his book, which is excerpted in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “Another former member of the Household recalls that, every now and then, there would be a glimpse of her despair.”

“It distressed her much more than she let on,” a former staffer tells Hardman, recalling his attempt to put the broken royal marriages into some sort of perspective.

“I said, ‘Ma’am, it seems to be happening everywhere. This is almost common practice.’ But she just said, ‘Three out of four!’ in sheer sadness and exasperation. One shouldn’t underestimate the pain she’s been through.”

queen elizabeth speaks out as barbados drops her as head of state to become a republic
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However, despite what she was going through behind closed doors, the Queen kept her head during that terrible year in 1992. That year, a fire destroyed a part of Windsor Castle and Charles, Anne and Andrew’s marriages fell apart — as well as the ongoing scandals surrounding Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

“I don’t remember a single occasion when I went to see her and she exclaimed, ‘No! What next?’ ” her former press secretary Charles Anson tells Hardman in Queen of Our Times, out April 5.

“The issue was sometimes embarrassing, but she got on with it. It is immensely reassuring in those situations to work for someone who isn’t knocked back.”

Throughout, he adds, she was “never short; never irritable; completely steady.”

queen elizabeth was reportedly very distressed with the divorces of prince charles, prince andrew and princess anne
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And when it came to Charles and Diana’s split the Queen chose to be still, an approach she learned from her father, King George VI.

“Her mother’s strategy in these situations— to carry on as if they were not happening—had earned her the nickname ‘imperial ostrich’ among royal staff,” Hardman writes. “The Queen’s response, as ever, was to follow the example of her father, absorbed from his days at sea, and to treat adversity like the ocean.”

“Storms will come and go, some worse than others,” Sir John Major, who worked closely with her through this period, tells Hardman. “But she will always put her head down and plough through them. The Queen has always lived by the doctrine, ‘This too shall pass.’ “

Hardman writes, “While the Queen has sometimes been accused of being slow to act, there has never been a charge of panic. Her default mode in the face of a crisis is stillness.”

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