Liz Truss meets the Queen - 28 years after calling for monarchy to be abolished

·4 min read
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, where she invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative party to become Prime Minister and form a new government. Picture date: Tuesday September 6, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, on Tuesday. (PA)

Liz Truss has met the Queen and is now officially Britain's new prime minister.

Billed as "Liz meets Liz II", the Conservative Party leader had an audience with Her Majesty at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Tuesday.

Her audience with the Queen took place in Balmoral’s green-carpeted Drawing Room, and followed Boris Johnson's own meeting with Her Majesty, in which he tendered his resignation as prime minister.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Queen received in audience The Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP today and requested her to form a new administration.

"Ms Truss accepted Her Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon her appointment as prime minister and first lord of the treasury.”

New Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves Balmoral following an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where she was invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government. Picture date: Tuesday September 6, 2022.
New prime minister Liz Truss leaves Balmoral following an audience with the Queen. (PA)

But on the day she officially became leader of the UK, a video showing Truss's past views on the monarchy was widely shared on social media.

In the clip, from 1994, a 19-year-old Truss, then a member of the Liberal Democrats, addresses the party's conference in Brighton, and calls for the monarchy to be abolished.

Two years later, she joined the Conservative Party, and the rest, as they say, is political history.

Watch: Teenage Liz Truss calls for monarchy to be abolished at Lib Dem conference

Addressing the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton 28 years ago, a 19-year-old Truss said: “We do not believe people are born to rule."

She said she had canvassed opinion from the public outside the conference who told her: “Abolish them, we’ve had enough”.

Truss told the conference: "I was being interviewed by Newsnight earlier this afternoon and we were filmed asking members of the public what they thought about the monarchy.

"We came across a group of three people, I would say they were around 50 or 60, looked fairly middle class, rather smart, in fact rather reactionary to be perfectly frank.

"We asked them their opinion of the monarchy, do you know what they said? They said, 'Abolish them, we've had enough'. We couldn't find a single monarchist outside the Royal Pavilion. How ironic."

She added: "We believe in fairness and common sense. We believe in referenda on major constitutional issues.

Read more: Most Brits don’t trust Liz Truss to deal with the cost-of-living crisis

Liz Truss called for the monarchy to be abolished in a speech to the Liberal Democrats party conference in 1994. (ITN)
Liz Truss called for the monarchy to be abolished in a speech to the Liberal Democrats party conference in 1994. (ITN)

"We do not believe that people should be born to rule or that they should put up and shut up about decisions that affect their everyday lives.

"We Liberal Democrats believe in opportunity for all. We do not believe people are born to rule."

When asked about her past views on the monarchy during the Conservative Party leadership campaign this summer, Truss said her political ideas developed as she grew up.

She told a Sky News debate last month: “I’ve already met the Queen and she’s been far too polite to raise that issue with me."

Asked whether she would apologise if the Queen did mention it, Truss said: “Well, I was wrong to say what I did at the time.”

Queen Elizabeth II greets Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (right) at a reception for international business and investment leaders at Windsor Castle, to mark the Global Investment Summit. Picture date: Tuesday October 19, 2021.
Liz Truss meeting the Queen in October 2021 at a business reception at Windsor Castle. (PA)

Asked by the BBC’s Nick Robinson about her previous comments, she said she was a “professional controversialist” in her youth and “liked exploring ideas and stirring things up”.

But she added: “I began to understand more about why Britain is successful, and part of our success is the constitutional monarchy that supports a free democracy.”

The Queen and Ms Truss have encountered each other on a number of occasions, including at Windsor Castle last October.

As foreign secretary, Truss met the monarch when the Queen greeted a line-up of guests at a reception for billionaire business leaders, politicians and tech entrepreneurs.

Read more: Will you be better or worse off under Liz Truss?

Liz Truss departs Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) in London, following the announcement that she is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister. Picture date: Monday September 5, 2022.
Liz Truss leaves Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) in London on Monday after being named the new party leader. (PA)

Truss shook the Queen’s hand and appeared from photographs to have performed a small curtsy.

They are both Elizabeths – yet while it is the Queen’s first name (as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary), it is actually Truss’s middle name and her first is a similarly-regal Mary, which she has never used.

Earlier on Tuesday, Johnson gave his farewell speech as prime minister outside Number 10 Downing Street.

"This is it, folks," he said, comparing himself to a "booster rocket" jetting off to distant lands.

Instead, he boarded a plane and jetted off to Scotland, where his turbulent time as prime minister will officially come to an end.

Watch: 'That's it, folks' - Boris Johnson's final speech as prime minister