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Queen's 'street sense' defused Diana death backlash - Tony Blair

Published 19/04/2016

The Queen talks to mourners outside Buckingham Palace a day before the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales
The Queen talks to mourners outside Buckingham Palace a day before the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales

The Queen used her shrewd "street sense" to recover the Royal Family's standing in the immediate aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Tony Blair has insisted.

The former prime minister said he was concerned about the scale of the public backlash in 1997 when the Royal Family was seen by many to be responding coldly to the death of the Princess in a Paris car crash.

"I was worried about the strength of feeling in the country that the Royal Family was in some way out of touch with public opinion, and it was a very difficult moment for the monarchy," Mr Blair told ITV News ahead of the Queen's 90th birthday this week.

Mr Blair said the Queen helped turn the situation around with a live broadcast to the nation on the eve of Diana's funeral.

"She got the balance between showing emotion and retaining the respect and dignity of the of the monarchy," he said.

"And that is her hallmark. I mean she is very, very shrewd in just a - what in another walk of life you would call almost a street sense.

"She has a very intuitive knowledge of where the people are, how they are feeling and how they want her to behave.

"She reflected, she thought about it, she adjusted, she moved, and she then recovered her poise, and as a result of this, here we are 20 years or so on, and she is undoubtedly one of the most popular monarchs of all time.

"The monarchy as an institution, and the Royal Family as a family have a very keen sense of history, they know there will be ups and downs in the future , but what they have really discovered under this monarch is the ability to move with the times whilst retaining the essence of the institution," Mr Blair added.

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