The late Queen Mother has been branded a “ghastly bigot”.

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Radio presenter Edward Stourton has revealed he was appalled by the views of the royal – who died in 2002 aged 101 – during a private conversation in the early 1990s.

After telling her he was back from a European summit, he says the Queen Mother told him: “It will never work, you know… It will never work with all those huns, wops and dagos.”

In his new book on political correctness, It’s a PC World, the Today presenter reflects on the conversation.

He writes: “The words were delivered with the eyes on maximum tiara-strength twinkle, but I am afraid I froze. The Nation’s Favourite Grandmother was, I thought, in fact a ghastly old bigot, a prey to precisely the kind of prejudice which had driven the conflicts the European project had been designed to prevent… I thought that what she had said was nasty and ugly.”

However, Edward – whose son Ivo was a close friend of Prince William at Eton – has played down his comments.

He said: “I didn’t mean to be severe,” he said. “I just thought it was a striking illustration of how our attitudes have changed.

“The Queen Mother came from a certain generation when people did talk like that.”