David Cameron was today accused of blabbing about the Queen again as he revealed she would drive him at ‘breakneck speeds’ around the Balmoral estate while Prince Philip fired up his barbecue for dinner.
The former Prime Minister has already angered Her Majesty yesterday after boasting that he leaned on her to intervene in the Scottish independence referendum.
In an unprecedented royal rebuke last night, Palace officials said that the former prime minister had caused Her Majesty ‘an amount of displeasure’ with his claim with a royal source telling MailOnline: ‘Make no mistake, they are furious about this.’
And today it emerged that David Cameron has been talking about how he would ‘relax’ with the Queen in her Balmarol ‘haven’ eating grouse cooked by the Duke of Edinburgh.
The Prime Minister has already angered Her Majesty yesterday (pictured together at Balmoral in 2013) and has now said the Queen drove at ‘breakneck speed’ around the Scottish estate
He told The Times’ Red Box podcast: ‘You get into a car, sort of seven o’clock at night, often driven by the Queen herself, driven at breakneck speed up on to the moor.
‘And there’s the Duke of Edinburgh cooking grouse on a barbecue a barbecue he himself has designed and built. That’s extraordinary to be cooked for by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip’.
He also revealed more details about private chats with the Queen and said: ‘She told me that when the king of Saudi Arabia stayed, she drove him. And so she’s the only woman to have driven the king of Saudi Arabia. And when I went to Saudi Arabia, the king told me that story’.
And revealing a little more about his weekly private audiences with the Queen he said: ‘You go and sit in the same room waiting for the audience to start. And then off you go’, adding that Her Majesty would always ask him ‘incredibly perceptive questions’ about his work.
It came after Mr Cameron revealed, in a TV documentary to promote his memoirs, that he held discussions with the Royal household during the referendum campaign and suggested the Queen could boost the case for Scotland to remain in the UK. He suggested that even a ‘raising of the eyebrow’ would make a difference.
The revelation immediately triggered a political row, with the Scottish National Party crying foul over Mr Cameron’s attempt to ‘manipulate the head of state’ during the bitterly fought referendum battle.
Within a few hours, the former prime minister was left embarrassed after Palace sources made clear there was intense irritation at his decision to breach the protocol governing conversations with the Queen and her senior advisors, conversations which prime ministers are expected to take to the grave.
The row was the result of a BBC documentary timed to coincide with the release of the former prime minister’s memoirs. In it Mr Cameron claimed the Queen was approached during the closing stages of the Scottish referendum when polls suggested the independence campaign could win.
Mr Cameron said: ‘I remember conversations I had with my private secretary and he had with the Queen’s private secretary and I had with the Queen’s private secretary, not asking for anything that would be in any way improper or unconstitutional, but just a raising of the eyebrow, even, you know, a quarter of an inch, we thought would make a difference.’
A week later, the Queen told a well-wisher near Balmoral that she hoped ‘people would think very carefully about the future’ before casting their votes. The apparently neutral comment was widely reported as a clear sign that she opposed the break-up of her kingdom. Yesterday, the SNP seized on Mr Cameron’s claim as evidence of foul play during the 2014 poll.
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said: ‘Begging a constitutional monarch to make a political intervention is not only totally improper, but an indication of how desperate Cameron was in the final stages of the campaign.’
Jeremy Corbyn also said Mr Cameron appeared to have acted ‘improperly’. Constitutional expert Robert Hazell accused Mr Cameron of ‘blabbing’ about the Queen to promote his book. ‘His previous career was in PR and this is a classic PR stunt,’ he said.
Professor Hazell, of University College London’s constitution unit, said the revelation was potentially damaging to the Queen’s reputation for neutrality.
He said: ‘The Queen has been a model of neutrality. This is the first occasion I can remember that that might have slipped a little bit, so I can understand her displeasure.’
Five years ago Mr Cameron had to apologise to the Queen after boasting she had ‘purred down the line’ after he called her to tell her Scotland had voted No to independence.
He yesterday said that had been a ‘terrible mistake’. And when asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to expand on his claim that he had persuaded the Queen to intervene in the referendum he said: ‘I am sure some people think – possibly even me – that I have already said too much.’
Yesterday, a senior royal source said the suggestion there was an ‘amount of displeasure’ at Buckingham Palace over Mr Cameron’s claims was ‘not unfair’.
A second source said: ‘For her former prime minister to discuss their talks like this is unprecedented and will be seen as a betrayal of his office, I’m afraid.’
Baroness Fall, a former aide to Mr Cameron, denied he had made the revelation to promote his book, adding: ‘I don’t think he meant to embarrass anybody – least of all the Queen.’