London, Dec. 23: One of Britains leading historians has sparked a row after accusing the Queen of lacking education, culture or any proper sense of history.
David Starkey, who on Boxing Day presents the last of his 17-part Channel 4 series, Monarchy, said: I dont think shes at all comfortable with anybody intellectual.
I think shes got elements a bit like Goebbels in her attitude ó you remember, he said: Every time I hear the word culture I reach for my revolver.
Starkey said that while accompanying the Queen on a tour of his exhibition on Elizabeth I at the National Maritime Museum, she showed scant interest in the displays, save when she identified a portrait of her ancestor as one of mine.
He compared her to an uneducated housewife who has simply been left some wonderful possessions, and seemed more concerned with the late arrival of her gin and Dubonnet than the exhibits.
But Starkey, who has be- en described as the rudest man in Britain, reserves his most trenchant criticism for what he regards as the Queens lack of awareness of her place in the long line of the monarchy. Her frames of reference to the monarchy, despite this 1,500-year history, are entirely her father and grandfather, he said.
His comments were dismissed by the royal biographer Penny Junor, who said: The Queen is certainly cultured even if not that moved by the arts. The Prince of Wales has a great sense of history and a lot of that comes from his mother.
The royal historian Robert Lacey said: She is absolutely genuine and thats what people respond to. After 50 years, the Queen is at the peak of her popularity. She must be doing something right.
Ironically, the comments came on a day the 81-year-old queen embraced modern technology, setting up her own special Royal Channel on YouTube.
The queen will use the popular video-sharing website to send out her 50th annual televised Christmas message, which she first delivered live to the nation and its colonies on December 25, 1957.
Buckingham Palace also began posting archive and recent footage of the queen and other royals on the channel on Sunday, with plans to add new clips regularly.