Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Living up to his reputation as the “rudest man in Britain,” one of the country’s leading historians of British monarchy has dispensed with Christmas cheer to launch an astonishing attack on the Queen. He called her a “philistine” whose approach to culture, he said, reminded him of Goebbels’ remark: “Every time I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.”

David Starkey, who was awarded a CBE by the Queen this year and has just finished the last instalment of his 17-part television documentary on the royal family, described her as poorly educated and intellectually limited — unlike her son, Prince Charles, who was “well-read” and “intellectually curious.”

Dr. Starkey, formerly of Cambridge University and the London School of Economics but now more often seen on TV screens than in the classroom, made the blistering comments in an interview to The Guardian. This came barely two days after the Queen became the oldest British monarch to sit on the throne, surpassing the record of Queen Victoria.

Dr. Starkey, whose film Monarchy: The Windsors, will be shown on ITV on Boxing Day, recalled how when he was showing the Queen round an exhibition he had curated, she appeared more preoccupied with the fact that her “gin and Dubonnet” had not arrived, than with the photographs.

The only exhibits that drew a reaction from her were photographs of herself, and her husband, Philip’s.

Dr. Starkey added that Queen Elizabeth’s interest even in her own predecessors stopped at her grandfather George V, judging from her references to the monarchy in her annual Christmas broadcasts.

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