In a conversation with Chancellor George Osborne she described the decision to sell some of the gold reserves as ‘regrettable’.
Between 1999 and 2002, when he was Chancellor, Mr Brown ordered the sale of the gold when the price was at a 20-year low. He did so despite serious misgivings at the Bank of England.
The sale raised just £2billion. But the gold is now worth an estimated £13billion, meaning the fateful decision cost £11billion – three times the amount lost on Black Wednesday in 1992 when the UK left the European exchange rate mechanism.
Speaking to Mr Osborne, the Queen asked him about the ‘gold bars’ she had seen during a visit of the Bank of England last week.
Some of her words are indistinct on video footage of the exchange, but she was heard saying ‘regrettably’ in a reference to their sale.
The Chancellor told her: ‘Some of them were sold but we still have some left’.