Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC's political editor, has said that the Queen did back Brexit ahead of the UK's referendum on its membership of the EU. However, she said she could not report it at the time because it had only come from one source instead of the two required by BBC editorial policy.

In March this year, prior to the referendum, The Sun published the controversial headline "Queen backs Brexit" which Buckingham Palace later complained about to press regulator IPSO adding that the Queen was politically neutral. Though the complaint that the headline was misleading was upheld, The Sun maintained two sources had confirmed comments allegedly made by the Queen at a private lunch.

Speaking to the BBC's Today Programme, Kuenssberg said her "jaw hit the floor" after a contact told her about the comments. She said: "In a casual chat with one of my contacts, they said, 'At some point this is going to come out ... and I don't know if the BBC would touch it, but the Queen told people at a private lunch that she thinks that we should leave the EU.'"

"Apparently at this lunch she said: 'I don't see why we can't just get out. What's the problem?'" Kuenssberg added.

However, she said that "sadly" she could not report it because she only had one source, though she "spent the next few days trying to prove it", but could not find the necessary supporting evidence.

The story which The Sun ran claimed former deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, was party to the comments though Clegg, in the Remain camp, denied any knowledge of the conversation. He added that The Sun's story about the comments, alleged to have been made at a lunch at Windsor Castle were "nonsense".

Clegg said it was "appalling" that the Queen had been "dragged into" the debate and it was suggested Michael Gove, who campaigned to leave the EU, was responsible for planting the story. Gove refused to confirm whether or not he was the original source.

Kuenssberg spoke of her shock at the revelation in the midst of a bitter and divisive campaign, and her frustration at not having been able to break the story.

She said: "There were lots of moments in the referendum campaign, but for me that was one when my jaw did hit the floor. Very frustratingly, the story did eventually emerge, whether it was true or not."

Theresa May and the Queen
Buckingham Palace complained to the Press Regulator IPSO that The Sun's headline about the Queen on Brexit had been misleading