Today's politicians are awful – even the Queen says so... apparently, says STEPHEN POLLARD

Not once in her 67 years on the throne has Queen Elizabeth said publicly what she really thinks about any political issue, however uncontroversial her views may be. On very rare occasions, she has dropped a hint. But even then it has always been veiled and we rely on interpreting her words rather than any direct statement of her views.

The Queen

The Queen has seen 14 Prime Ministers in her reign (Image: Press Association)

This, most observers believe, is the secret to her success as monarch – that she is genuinely above politics. No matter who the prime minister may be and what party they come from, none of us actually know what she thinks. Which is why any story that appears to reveal those beliefs makes waves. At the weekend, a newspaper reported that the Queen has privately lamented the calibre of our current political class and its “inability to govern”. She was apparently speaking shortly after David Cameron’s resignation in 2016 in the wake of the Brexit referendum. 

But according to the newspaper, the source behind the story says that her frustrations have increased since then. “I think she’s really dismayed,” the source said.

“I’ve heard her talking about her disappointment in the current political class and its inability to govern correctly.”

This isn’t the first time her private conversations have been leaked.

In 2016, it was reported that she “let rip” at the then deputy prime minister, EU fanatic Nick Clegg at Windsor Castle, saying she believed the EU was heading in the wrong direction.

She’s also reported to have said at a Buckingham Palace reception: “I don’t understand Europe.” 

The source described how she spoke “with quite some venom and emotion”.  

And in 1986, The Sunday Times reported that the Queen was dismayed by the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s social policies and attitude to the Commonwealth.  

It’s reasonable to assume that this report is accurate: the source is described as impeccable.

But apart from the excitement at finding what the Queen thinks, surely most people will agree with her as it’s now commonplace to believe our current crop of politicians are sub-par. 

And if that’s what the rest of us think, imagine how much more poignant the thought must be for Her Majesty, who in those 67 years as monarch has held a weekly audience with every prime minister since Churchill. 

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is the 14th of the Queen's Prime Ministers (Image: Getty)

Boris Johnson is the 14th, and she has not just known them in passing.

Prime ministers all say when they’ve left office that the Queen was one of the few people in whom they could confide, knowing their conversation would never leak. 

The Queen has been a uniquely central figure in British politics.

Without ever being political, she has been at the heart of politics with a detailed knowledge of state secrets and the ups and downs of policy, but without ever making a partisan contribution.

It is easy for us to hark back to an earlier time through rose-tinted spectacles.

But when you consider those prime ministers she has asked to form her governments, they do seem, with glaring exceptions, to be of a different calibre in her earlier years: Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Douglas-Home, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and May. 

Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill was the Queen's first Prime Minister (Image: IWM/Getty)

But it wasn’t just recent prime ministers she was bemoaning – it was the political class as a whole.

As it happens, back in January she dropped one of those deeply veiled hints in a similar vein.

Speaking to the Women’s Institute at a time of chaos over the Withdrawal Agreement, she favoured “speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture... these approaches are timeless and I commend them to everyone”.

David Cameron

David Cameron resigned after losing the Brexit vote (Image: Getty)

You could say such a statement is obvious. that’s how carefully worded her interventions always are, so there’s nothing on which to hang any claimed expression of her views. 

In September 2014, for example, during the referendum on Scottish independence, she said voters should “think very carefully”.

Again, you could argue this was stating the obvious. her words were near-universally taken as an intervention against independence at a time when the Yes campaign seemed to be surging.

This latest leak is perhaps the least controversial of all, however potent Brexit may be as an issue.

How could anyone not be frustrated by our political class? 

The Queen is the only person in our entire nation who has been at the centre of political life for the past 67 years. 

How telling and depressing it is to contrast her maturity with the short-termism and immaturity of our current politicians.