One doesn’t normally keep the Queen waiting. But on Thursday Her Majesty finally received an answer to a question she first asked four years ago: why did nobody notice the “awful” financial crisis earlier?
As she toured the Bank of England’s gold vault, Sujit Kapadia, an economist and one of the Bank’s top financial policy experts, stopped the Queen to say he would like to answer the question she first posed to academics at the London School of Economics at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. “Oh,” she said, slightly taken aback, as Kapadia went on to explain that as the global economy boomed in the pre-crisis years, the City had got “complacent” and many thought regulation wasn’t necessary, reports The Guardian.
The Queen, who appeared quite animated during the discussion, said: “People got a bit lax … perhaps it is difficult to foresee [a financial crisis].”
Kapadia told Her Majesty that financial crises were a bit like earthquakes and flu pandemics in being rare and difficult to predict, and reassured her that the staff at the Bank were there to help prevent another one. “Is there another one coming?” the Duke of Edinburgh joked, before warning them: “Don’t do it again.”
The royal couple left after signing a million-pound banknote each in the Bank’s guestbook. After being shown the first note that she signed in the guestbook as an 11-year-old girl in 1937, the Queen noted that her signature “hasn’t improved much”.
The governor of the Bank, Sir Mervyn King, said: “You will have seen today how much your visit has meant to all of us at the Bank.
“The people you met today are really the unsung heroes, the people that kept not just the banking system but the economy as a whole functioning in the most challenging of circumstances.
“And there would be no greater appreciation of their work than your visit here today.”
As the Queen walked out of the building in the heart of the City towards a large crowd gathered outside, she said of her visit: “Very interesting, isn’t it?”