The Queen told a leading German ambassador that Britain’s future “lies in Europe”, according to state documents.
A report in the Times claims a cable held by the German foreign office written by Rüdiger Freiherr von Wechmar, who served as West Germany’s ambassador to Britain from 1983 to 1988, revealed Queen Elizabeth’s stance on Europe for the first time.
Written in 1988 Von Wechmarr reportedly told West German leaders that the Queen had left “no doubt that the future of Britain lies in Europe” after their final meeting on November 24.
The ambassador, along with his wife, had been granted an audience at Buckingham Palace as he left the role, and he told her of his ambitions of going on to become an MEP.
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The conversation took place some two months after Margaret Thatcher had delivered the Bruges speech, in which she proclaimed that Britain’s destiny lay in Europe but warned of a “European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels”.
Von Wechmar told the Queen Thatcher’s trade secretary, Lord Young of Graffham, had recently budgeted £5 million for a public information campaign on Europe.
“She said in a sarcastic undertone: ‘It’s about time,’ ” the ambassador recalled.
“I told her I sometimes couldn’t escape the impression that Mrs Thatcher wanted a different Europe from the Europe we wanted.
“She responded to this remark with an observation alluding to the strained relationship between the two women: ‘That will soon change... If she is still around.’”