Boris Johnson has been the 14th prime minister of the queen’s reign, and it has been an eventful time for the monarch with Johnson at the helm.
Elizabeth II, as head of state, and Johnson, as leader of the government, have together witnessed unprecedented turbulent times, with Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic occurring during their brief tenure.
But Johnson also caused a certain amount of trouble for the nation’s longest-reigning sovereign.
He managed to drag the Queen into a major constitutional dispute over the illegal prorogation of Parliament.
Twice he broke with convention and spoke out over his private audiences, publicly apologizing to the Queen and country for the events in Downing Street on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
Two parties were held at No. 10 at a time of national mourning and with England under restrictions prohibiting indoor mixing of households.
The next day, the Queen sat alone, socially distanced from her family, as she mourned her husband.
Johnson had only been in office hours after succeeding Theresa May in July 2019 when he revealed what was said at his audience with the Queen when he accepted her invitation to form the next government and become prime minister.
A Euronews NBC correspondent said the outspoken politician claimed the monarch joked: “I don’t know why anyone would want the job.”
Johnson, who revealed the comments during a tour of 10 Downing Street, was scolded by staff who warned him not to repeat such things out loud.
Again in November 2019, he spoke about his private hearings, describing his meetings as a “very tough interview”.
He made the revelations in an election campaign video filmed in a car on his way to meet the head of state on the day Parliament was dissolved, marking the start of the general election.
Johnson said: “I just went to see Her Majesty The Queen, which is always a very difficult interview because she always asks the best questions and the question today is: why do we have this election?”
The monarch is politically neutral and acts on the advice of her government on political matters.
But with 70 years of experience on the throne, the Queen’s knowledge and experience in matters of state is unparalleled.
Johnson revealed during a parliamentary tribute to the Queen in her jubilee year that her regular meetings with the monarch were always “immensely reassuring, because she has seen the scope”.
The Queen had briefings with Johnson most Wednesdays, usually face-to-face, and then, as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, her hearings were held over the phone.
But former assistant principal at No. 10, Dominic Cummings, claimed that Johnson wanted to visit the Queen early in the pandemic despite Covid-19 cases pouring into Downing Street.
Downing Street has adamantly denied this.
Johnson finally took a 15-month break from her face-to-face meetings after seeing the Queen on March 11, 2020.
But Cummings alleged that Johnson had wanted to visit her a week later, on March 18, when people in her office were self-isolating but had to be convinced of the seriousness of potentially transmitting Queen’s coronavirus.
This was five days before Johnson announced the first closure on March 23 and he later tested positive for Covid-19 later that month.
Johnson sparked a major constitutional dispute during the Queen’s summer break in August 2019 amid bitter Brexit battles from Westminster after asking her to suspend Parliament for more than a month.
The sovereign was required to hold a meeting of the Privy Council at Balmoral, her private Scottish estate, where, on the advice of the prime minister, she passed an order to temporarily close, or prorogue, Parliament for five weeks.
Opposition leaders wrote to the Queen in protest and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said the move was a “constitutional outrage” designed to prevent Parliament from discussing Brexit.
In the end, the High Court ruled that Johnson’s advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament was illegal because it had the effect of frustrating Parliament.
Johnson apologized to the monarch.
In September 2019, he made the traditional Prime Minister’s trip to stay at the Queen’s Balmoral estate.
He was joined by his then girlfriend and now wife, Carrie Symonds, who was expecting their first child together.
Mrs. Symonds was thought to be the first unmarried partner of a sitting Prime Minister to stay at the Scottish castle.
In December 2019, the then 93-year-old Queen held a state opening of Parliament, just nine weeks after the previous one.
The first of October was branded as a farce before the scheduled elections.
Sir Ed Davey, then deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, accused Johnson of being impolite to the monarch.
“First of all, we saw how she was misled by the Supreme Court about the first attempt to prorogue Parliament. Now she is getting her into electoral politics,” she said.
The dispute over Downing Street parties during lockdown prompted Johnson to publicly apologize to the Queen in January 2022.
Johnson, who was at Checkers at the time of the holidays on April 16, 2021 the night before Philip’s funeral, was emotional during his on-camera apology, saying he was deeply and bitterly sorry the events had occurred.
Two alcoholic meetings were held to mark the departure of James Slack as Johnson’s director of communications and another staff member.
Sue Gray’s report on the partygate scandal revealed that people continued to drink at Number 10 the night before Philip’s funeral into the small hours, with the last person not leaving until 4:20am.
A child’s swing in the garden was damaged by people leaning on it.
The country was in a period of mourning after the Duke’s death, and the restrictions meant the Queen had to sit socially distanced from her loved ones at Philip’s scaled-down funeral as she mourned her husband of 73 years.