LONDON - Sir Edward Ford, the royal courtier who gave Queen Elizabeth II the memorable phrase "annus horribilis" to describe her troubles in 1992, has died. He was 96.
Ford, who was the queen's assistant private secretary from her accession in 1952 until he retired in 1967, died at home on Sunday.
In a letter to the queen in 1992, following the collapse of the marriages of Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Princess Anne, and a devastating fire at Windsor Castle, Ford turned to Latin to commiserate with her at the end of a horrible year.
The queen used Ford's expression in a speech that November marking the 40th anniversary of her reign.
"1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure," she said.
"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."
Educated at Eton and Oxford, Ford was private tutor to the heir to the Egyptian throne, Prince Farouk, who was then 15.
Ford practised law from 1937 to 1939. During the second world war he served in Italy and Tunisia. He joined the palace staff in 1946.
His wife, Virginia, died in 1995. He is survived by two sons and a stepson. -Sapa-AP