London: A leading British historian has come under severe criticism for accusing Queen Elizabeth II of lacking education, culture or any proper sense of history.
David Starkey, who on Wednesday, the Boxing Day, presents the last of his 17-part Channel 4 series Monarchy, 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 at an exhibition.
According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph on Sunday, Dr 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 said: "I don't think she's at all comfortable with anybody intellectual. I think she's got elements a bit like Goebbels in her attitude – you remember, he said, "Every time I hear the word culture I reach for my revolver."
But Dr Starkey, who has been described as "the rudest man in Britain" reserves his most trenchant criticism for what he regards as the Queen's lack of awareness of her place in the long line of the British 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. Prince Charles 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 that's what people respond to. After 50 years the Queen is at the peak of her popularity. She must be doing some thing right."