Sir Edward Ford, assistant private secretary to King George VI and then to Queen Elizabeth II from her coronation in 1952 until he retired from service in 1967, died Sunday in London. He was 96. Eton and Oxford educated, Ford was knighted, cited, and generally respected during his long life. It was in 1992, when the royal family was in marital disarray and HRH’s beloved Windsor Castle suffered a great fire, that Sir Edward wrote the queen a letter commiserating with her on her “annus horribilis,” a Latin term she incorporated into her speech commemorating her 40 years on the throne.
1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so.
Ford would later say that, much to his chagrin, strictly speaking, the Latin should have been annus horrendus.