The Guardian is running a series on Queen’s Consent. This is the idea that before Parliament gets to discuss things which affect the Royals then the Royals have to give their consent to the discussion.
The Guardian is running it as Brenda gets to stop laws she doesn’t like.
Possibly a more accurate description would be that the Crown has a constitutional position – whatever that is and however much we like it or don’t – and therefore discussion of how to change that constitutional position should be subject to more than a little extra scrutiny. Otherwise we might do something stupid like abolish the office of Lord Chancellor because it’s a hopeless anachronism and then find out that it’s so entwined into the entire legal system that we’ve got to reinvent it immediately.
That would, after all, be very stupid, wouldn’t it?
But here’s a cute little example of how to tell that The Guardian is getting this wrong:
Members of the Windsor family can have their will sealed from the public, unlike any other family in Britain, ensuring an unmatched level of secrecy around their private wealth. No confirmed figure of the Windsor family’s wealth exists, though estimates have placed it at hundreds of millions of pounds.
In 2014, for example, the Queen and the heir to the throne screened the inheritance and trustees’ powers bill. Two years earlier she vetted the trusts (capital and income) bill. Trusts are legal arrangements often used by wealthy families to protect their assets from both tax and public scrutiny.
She has also screened bills covering whole swathes of government policymaking. At least 11 bills governing the railways have been vetted by the Queen, sometimes relating to the land owned by the royal estates.
In 2013 the Queen gave her consent to the parliamentary bill to build the High Speed 2 rail line between London and Birmingham. Transport ministers had notified the palace that the bill affected the “interests of the crown” as the department needed to acquire 21 plots of land owned by the crown estate during the construction of the line.
There’s a deliberate and gross blurring going on there. Between the Queen’s private property, “estates”, like Balmoral and Sandringham, and the Crown Estate. They’re just not the same thing, not at all. But that’s been deliberately written to blur that distinction.
And you don’t do that if you;re certain of your logic and facts, you only do that if you’re certain of the purity of your cause but not the facts nor the logic.