Monday 31 October 2011


Lithograph of the Black Prince (2nd left)
Under an ancient law dating from 1337 which has never been revoked, The Duke of Cornwall has the right to veto legislation of the Westminster parliament if it affects his private interests.

Breathtaking, isn't it?

Nonetheless, ministers have been forced to seek the duke's permission on matters as far ranging as road safety, gambling, the Olympics, co-operative societies, economic development, housing, regeneration, energy and planning amongst others. 

Whilst his mother technically has the right to interfere by "advising, encouraging and warning" on matters affecting her subjects, and a veto over matters that affect the royal family, it seems that  HRH, has a secret right to demand changes to Bills if they get in the way of his private interests.

The information came to light as the result of a Freedom of Information demand by the Guardian. The government recently exempted official correspondence between ministers and the Queen, Charles and William, from FoI legislation (meaning that Charles could continue to summons ministers to discuss legislation without it becoming embarrassing). However, with their customary panache from messing up, clearly no one thought to include this "right" in that  cover-up legislation, which, ironically, was unobtrusively tacked on to a Bill on openness in government!!!! 
Coinage of Edward, the Black Prince

The legislation originates from Edward III  when he created his son, the Black Prince, Duke of Cornwall and has been passed down since that time, seemingly without alteration. The Duchy provides Charles with £18 million a year of private income, quite separate from the money given to him by the state for royal duties and maintaining his wife.

The revelations have caused both MPs and Peers (although why the peers, I'm not sure) to protest and demand publication of details about how these powers have been used to interfere in legislation. Both the government and Charles' office is refusing to give any details of any changes that he has demanded. The Liberal MP for St Ives in Kernow, said that he was astonished to hear that Charles has a veto over government business, and a minister Lord Berkeley who was recently obliged to ask permission over a marine navigation bill, wondered why other landowners who would be affected by it should not have an equal say.

Charles has been accused on many occasions of poking his nose into government and meddling in the affairs of ministers. While some may think that a disastrously out of touch Cabinet might benefit from a little steering in the direction of the needs of the people, it's surely the constituency MPs who are supposed to do that. Not someone whose reality is so far removed from Mr Average as to be on a different planet and in a different time zone.


  1. Tris

    Off topic, has Forsyth finally flipped.

  2. In a word Dubs...yes.

  3. Surprised? I mean really? We don't have a written constitution, we just make things up as we go.

    So, as I say, are you really surprised? Hmm?

  4. Well, yes Dean, because this is written into law. He's always had the right, as did all the Cornish dukes before him ever since Eddy said to his lad... 'don't put up with any nonsense from the plebs, my boy!'

  5. tris

    And just why should anyone be allowed to interfere with Charles privates leave his privates alone i say.


  6. Ah, there is no answer to that Niko.

    Do you remember 1337

  7. That's where Labour in Scotland are headed tris thankfully.

    What I find disturbing that it is only now that our southern neighbours are waking up to who owns them.

  8. Do you think that most people care that much CH?

    They get angry when they see this kind of story, but after a few minutes they are worrying about who's gonna get put off Britain's Got Talent, or Strictly Come Dancing, or I'm a Complete Nothing, Get me Out of Here...

    Which is what this lot depend upon.

    Feed them some more pap and we can get on with having our Britain, for us.

  9. I really don't care.

    God Save the Duke of Rothsay, I say. Better him than some corrupt politician.


    (Am I teasing, or being serious? Can you tell?)

  10. I don't suppose that I would generally agree with Dean about much. (I think of British Tories as being more or less the same as American Republicans.)

    But Dean is absolutely spot on in his comments here. You DO make it up as you go along. Your politicians blather on about constitutional government. A constitution which does not in fact exist in Britain.

    Few people in Britain seem to care about the fact that the Queen regularly dissolves Parliament and asks a politician over to the palace to ask him/her to form a new government. (HER government is the term!) Lately, he's been the one who represents the party the people just elected. But he doesn't actually have to be.

    And then people get outraged when the unbridled power of the Monarchy is brought down to earth in the very specific form you describe here. A form in which this power could actually be used to secretly effect legislation.

    You need a written constitution. You need a bill of rights. And you need to send the royals packing. (Or at least strip them of any real authority.) And for God's sake, quit calling your government "HER Majesty's government", your courts HER courts, your Army Navy and Air Force HER....etc. You get the idea. Just pattern your new republic after the American model and you'll be just fine.

    Oops....maybe I went a little TOO far there. ;-) Dean also correctly pointed out that you will simply exchange corrupt royals with corrupt politicians. But the difference is that they will be bound by a written constitution and can be voted out of office. Try to remove a King or Queen....or a Duke of Rothsay....from office. (Leaving aside the example of Charles I of course.)

    Rant over. ;-)

  11. PS: To respond directly to Dean's question about the seriousness of his own previous comment.

    He's clearly teasing. I think he knows well the difference between a corrupt politician and a corrupt royal, and why the former is infinitely preferable to the latter.

    BTW, I have no objection to God looking after a personal way.....once he's safely removed from any governing authority.

  12. Good old Big Ears. I can't wait for him to be king, his interfering paternalist Toryism will be the greatest fillip for the cause of republicanism since HM the Q wouldn’t allow a fag at half mast on Buck house. In the latter instance the Queen gave way to the good council of Tony Blair but I don’t see Charles giving way on anything for anyone. Let’s hope he starts the glorious reign of Charles III by insisting his wife be Queen Camilla, oh the laughs!

  13. Hmmm Dean...

    That's the trouble with you. I never know when you're joking.

    I'll take a pop at joking this time. You know perfectly well that you wouldn't much care for a country ruled by a Duke...

    I mean, for example, what about Duke Alex of Banff?

  14. Ah yes, Danny. I sometimes think that prime ministers move so closely in American presidents' footsteps that the UK has, in fact, become the 51st state. And why not? Wasn't Hawaii a dysfunctional kingdom before America put it straight?

    Mr Cameron wants to give the UK a Bill of Rights and move away from all this social democratic nonsense imposed on it by the EU.

    I suspect though that, as the most unequal country within the OECD, we would find that the Bill actually said "You have none, peasant".

    It is no wonder we are so unhappy so unproductive and so unhealthy. Inequality and lack of freedom are contributors to all these "un"s.

    I always feel sorry for the queen in that she has responsibility for all these things you talk about, but no real authority to make any changes to them.

    And ten she reads that we must keep her because she brings in loads of tourists.

    What an insult. She must feel like Stonehenge or Alton Towers.

    And while we are on about how she feels, she is constantly referred to as Queen of England, but of course she is also Queen of Canada, Queen of New Zealand, Queen of Papua New Guinea, Queen of Scots.... and, of course, many more.

    How disappointing, when you have all these amazing places, to be known as Queen of England. (OK English, I'm only joking.)

  15. LOL Munguin.

    Quite so. As Old King George V said of his son... "That boy will have ruined the monarchy 6 months after I die"...

    He was pretty nearly right, given that his son was Edward VIII.

    That's why Liz will outlive her mother's 101 years.

  16. PS... I don't normally point out other people's errors, given that I make a shed load myself, but this one was too good to miss.

    Even if the UK is the most unequal of all Western countries, they still don't run fags up the flagpole at Buck House.


  17. LOL....I was wondering about the fag at half mast on the palace myself. I thought maybe there was a lot more to the controversy than I had heard about.

    Thanks for clearing that up! ;-)

  18. I see the Lib Dem 'leader' in Scotland has been slandering people...

  19. LOL Danny...

    I'm sire there is more to most controversies than we get to know, but on this occasion I promise you, much though Prince Philip might like to, they haven't started suspending fags from the palace fLagpole.

  20. Oh Lord Monty. What a blunder.

    His excuse is worse. He apologises, and then blames someone else for the gaffe, despite it being on his own Facebook page.

    Good lord, I'm sure that the Queen doesn't do her own Facebook page, but you would have thought that Rennie's duties are not so onerous that he has to employ someone to do his for him.

    Pathetic. Why can't people just admit it when they have messed up?

    Mea Culpa. It's easy to say and gains a lot of respect.

  21. A half mast fag...that has comic possiblilties...

    Anyhow I've come across this guy:

    What do you think?

  22. A good article Conan.

    A lot of what was said seemed to chime with what I hear, and feel.

    What was interesting was that some of the people seem to believe that we needed England's money, when in fact, they need ours, and one bloke thought the oil had run out..."40 years ago when we had oil".

    The malign influence of the main stream media is everywhere, it seems.

  23. The veto isn't all that surprising really, what does surprise me is that so many people believe that there is such a thing as parliamentary supremacy/sovereignty and the queen is just a figurehead...
    I have a veto over legislation too...I just say no, and ignore it!

  24. Hello nominedeus...

    Yes, people think that we live in a parliamentary democracy, when we have (for the UK) a FPTP system that produces a government that fewer than 30% wanted, and which has curbs put on it by a non elected house of appointees/aristocrats/clerics from only one church.

    Added to that the MPs are whipped by a system that denies them promotion if they fail to follow the dictates of the semi detached nob in Downing street.

    And finally we discover that Big Ears can object to anything that displeases him, personally.

    No wonder thee country is falling down around our ears.

    Get me the hell out of this hateful place.