The Queen has made an unexpected plea for European unity on her four-day state visit to Germany.
Speaking at a state banquet in Berlin alongside David Cameron, who is pursuing his push for reforms to the EU at a meeting of leaders today, the Queen said she and the German President, Joachim Gauck, had seen "the worst but also the best of our continent" during their lives.
“We know that division in Europe is dangerous and that we must guard against it,” she added. The Queen is politically neutral but some have interpreted her comments as a political intervention in favour of Britain remaining in the EU.
The German president went further in his address and in what will give Mr Cameron confidence, he told guests that the EU needed Britain and said his country would support "constructive dialogue" on the reforms the Prime Minister was seeking.
Her call for unity came on the eve of a crucial summit of EU leaders in Brussels, where the deadlock in Greece and the Mediterranean migrant crisis will dominate proceedings, while Mr Cameron present his argument for a renegotiated settlement for Britain during a working dinner.
Delivering her speech to guests at the 18th century Bellevue Palace, Mr Gauck's official Berlin residence, the Queen said: "In our lives, Mr President, we have seen the worst but also the best of our continent. We have witnessed how quickly things can change for the better.
"But we know that we must work hard to maintain the benefits of the post-war world.
"We know that division in Europe is dangerous and that we must guard against it in the West as well as in the East of our continent. That remains a common endeavour."