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The price of royal duty: how does Queen Elizabeth reflect on her family's infinite problems?

Queen Elizabeth soon turns 94. Does she look back ruefully on family problems - or serenely accept change?

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Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she opens the refurbished East Wing of Somerset House, on February 29, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she opens the refurbished East Wing of Somerset House, on February 29, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) waves to the crowd, June 2, 1953 after being crowned  at Westminter Abbey in London. - Elizabeth married the Duke of Edinburgh on the 20th of November 1947 and was proclaimed Queen in 1952 at age 25. Her coronation was the first worldwide televised event. (Photo by - / INTERCONTINENTALE / AFP)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) waves to the crowd, June 2, 1953 after being crowned at Westminter Abbey in London. - Elizabeth married the Duke of Edinburgh on the 20th of November 1947 and was proclaimed Queen in 1952 at age 25. Her coronation was the first worldwide televised event. (Photo by - / INTERCONTINENTALE / AFP)

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A piece of work by artist Chris Levine depicting Queen Elizabeth II is displayed during a photocall at Asprey on May 28, 2012 in London, England

A piece of work by artist Chris Levine depicting Queen Elizabeth II is displayed during a photocall at Asprey on May 28, 2012 in London, England

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Peter Phillips (left) and Autumn Phillips during day five of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse in 2019

Peter Phillips (left) and Autumn Phillips during day five of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse in 2019

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The marriage of Charles and Diana was an unmitigated disaster

The marriage of Charles and Diana was an unmitigated disaster

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Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she opens the refurbished East Wing of Somerset House, on February 29, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

She will be 94 years of age in April, and like all nonagenarians, Queen Elizabeth will surely look back on the momentous changes she has seen over her lifetime.

But I wonder if she will dwell most especially, not just on the big moments of history - the rise and fall of Hitler and Stalin, the coming of the welfare state, the growing influence of Asia - but on all the intimate details of her family life, and how much social values have altered since her birth in 1926.

I imagine that Elizabeth, like others who have attained great age, will reflect that many of the changes she has seen have been improvements. The world in which she grew up could be mightily stuffy and repressive. But there is one issue which she will, surely, weigh with some serious private thoughts, because it seems to be running amok through the family now: and that is the question of divorce.