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Britain's Queen quizzes central bankers on financial crisis

Published on Dec 14, 2012 8:53 AM
Queen Elizabeth II along with Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh (right) inspects gold reserves in a vault at the Bank of England in London during a visit on Dec 13, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth put central bankers on the spot when she quizzed them about the errors that led to the financial crisis in a rare public intervention during a visit to the Bank of England on Thursday.

She asked whether complacency was a factor and if the financial watchdog lacked teeth, touching on a sensitive debate that has raged since the near collapse of the banking system and triggering widespread attention in the British media.

The 86-year-old monarch avoids entering political debate, but four years ago pointedly asked academics why nobody had foreseen the crisis, which forced Britain to rescue leading banks, stoked a record budget deficit and sent the economy into recession.

Bank of England staff attempted to answer her query during her visit, giving a technical explanation that prompted the queen to explore the subject further.

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