Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly broken the rule of secrecy associated with audiences with the Queen – by claiming she questioned why anyone would want the job of premier.
What passes between the Queen and her prime minister during their private meetings is supposed to remain private, but when the inevitable leak does happen it is usually well after the event.
Mr Johnson held his first audience with the Queen on Wednesday afternoon at Buckingham Palace, where he accepted her invitation to form the next Government and become PM.
But it appears the outspoken politician may have already revealed what was said during their 25-minute meeting in the Queen’s private apartment.
A tweet by Vincent McAviney, a UK correspondent for Euronews NBC, makes the claim: “I don’t know why anyone would want the job” – what Johnson says HM the Queen told him during his audience! The PM revealed it during a tour in Number 10 before being told off by staff not to repeat those things so loudly.”
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the alleged breach of protocol.
As the Queen is above party politics, no-one is supposed to talk about the relationship between the sovereign and the Prime Minister of the day.
© Provided by The Press Association Mr Johnson bowed as he met the Queen at Buckingham Palace (Victoria Jones/PA)
But Sir Winston Churchill, her first prime minister, is thought to be her favourite.
Like a kindly uncle, Sir Winston nurtured the Queen through the early years, giving her the sort of advice which no-one else could have done.
James Callaghan managed to establish a warm rapport, and he said about the Queen: “One of the great things about her is that she always seems able to see the funny side of life. All the conversations were very enjoyable.”
But things were different with Baroness Thatcher, who reportedly found the traditional September weekend at the Queen’s Balmoral estate painful.
During Mr Johnson’s first audience with the Queen, a hi-tech fan was spotted tucked beside the fireplace, an illustration that – like the rest of the country – the Queen has been trying to ward off the stifling heat of the last few days.
© Provided by The Press Association Boris Johnson is said to have made the revelation about what the Queen said as he was given a tour of Number 10 following his arrival (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
A discontinued Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link purifier heater had been switched on ahead of the audience at the palace which, as an historic building, does not have air conditioning.
Mr Johnson may have approved as the product is by entrepreneur Sir James Dyson, a Brexit supporter whose firm announced earlier this year it would be moving its headquarters from the UK to Singapore.
The fan is another insight into the Queen’s private life at the palace, like the Daily Mirror’s famous revelation that the monarch’s breakfast cereals are kept fresh in Tupperware.
Homely touches could also be seen in the room, with family photographs on a nearby table – an official engagement picture of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, an image of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and a joint portrait of William and Harry in military uniforms.