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Queen inspects Bank of England’s gold reserves in secure vault

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The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh took a trip to the Bank of England today and inspected vaults full of thousands of slabs of gold worth billions.

• Royal couple sign a million pound note each for Bank’s guest book.

• Bank of England worker explains to Queen how financial crisis happened.

The Queen was intrigued when she was shown the very first banknote she had signed for the guest book on November 29, 1937, as an 11-year-old.

The signature was a simple “Elizabeth” written in a neat young girl’s script on a thousand pound note in the book.

On signing the note today, the Queen said of her signature: “It hasn’t improved much you know.”

While waiting to sign his million pound note which was sitting on the table, the Duke joked: “It’s just lying about.”

It was the Queen’s eighth visit to the Bank of England.

Downturn

During the visit the Queen also had her famously-asked economic question answered by a member of the Bank’s Financial Services Committee.

In November 2008, at the height of the global downturn, the Queen had asked academics at the London School of Economics: “Why did nobody notice it?” and described the crisis as “awful”.

Today Sujit Kapadia told her that financial crises were like earthquakes and flu pandemics and, because they are rare events, they are difficult to predict.

“People thought markets were efficient, people thought regulation wasn’t necessary,” he told the Queen.

“Because the economy was stable there was this growing complacency.

The Queen told workers: “People got a bit lax... perhaps it is difficult to foresee (a financial crisis).”

When told by an employee that the men and women in the room were there to prevent another one, the Duke jokingly asked: “Is there another one coming?”

 

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