Britain's Queen seeks answers for financial crisis

By REUTERS
December 14, 2012 04:00

 
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LONDON - 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 inquiry during her visit, giving a technical explanation that prompted the queen to explore the subject further.

"I suppose in money terms it is very difficult foreseeing (things). But people had got a bit ... lax?" she said, before agreeing with an official that the real problem could have been "complacency".

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