Does the Queen actually back Brexit? Here is what we know

If you haven't seen the Sun's Wednesday front page, it makes an extraordinary claim.

The splash is based upon the testimony of an unnamed source, describing a lunch in 2011 at Windsor Castle between Her Majesty, cabinet ministers and then deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

The story reads that:

The 89-year-old monarch firmly told passionate pro-European Mr Clegg that she believed the EU was heading in the wrong direction.

The story then reports that the Queen said, in a separate meeting with cabinet ministers, again, some years ago:

I don’t understand Europe.

Crucially, neither of these stories are a confirmation of support for leaving the European Union per se.

Nick Clegg told the Sun (not fully denying the conversation had occurred):

As I told the journalist this is nonsense. I’ve no recollection of this happening and it’s not the sort of thing I would forget.

His spokesperson has subsequently said (denying the conversation had occurred):

This is categorically untrue. Nick has no recollection of this conversation and it is not the sort of conversation you forget.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told indy100 (not completely denying the conversation):

The Queen remains politically neutral, as she has for 63 years. We would never comment on spurious, anonymously sourced claims.

The referendum will be a matter for the British people.

In addition, last year the Queen spoke at a state banquet in Berlin alongside David Cameron, advocating European unity:

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.

In short, this story seems to have a few problems with it.

So we have no idea why the Sun would publish such a widely-denied story on the front page. Unless...

Update: Buckingham Palace has complained to the press regulator IPSO about the Sun report.

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