The Royal Separation: Diary of an 'annus horribilis' for the Queen

THE QUEEN, speaking at Guildhall on 24 November, surprised her audience by her declaration that the year which marked the 40th anniversary of her coronation had been an annus horribilis. These are the events which were crowned yesterday by the announcement of the royal separation.

January: Speculation about the Duke and Duchess of York's marriage is fuelled by publication of photographs of the Duchess and Steve Wyatt, the Texan oil tycoon.

March: Buckingham Palace announces a separation of the Duke and Duchess of York. An off-the- record Palace briefing results in a BBC report that 'the knives are out for Fergie'.

April: The 18-year marriage of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips ends in a four-minute 'quickie' divorce.

June: A biography of the Princess of Wales by Andrew Morton is published. It says Diana is miserable in her marriage, she has suffered from bulimia nervosa and has made several suicide attempts.

August: Photographs of a topless Duchess of York kissing her 'financial adviser' John Bryan at a French villa are published. Newspapers publish details of a taped intimate conversation said to be between the Princess of Wales and her friend James Gilbey.

November: The Princess of Wales issues an unprecedented statement denying a public rift between her and the Duke of Edinburgh. Fire causes about pounds 60m of damage at Windsor Castle.

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