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The Monarchy

Monarchy Vets Laws It Does Not Like

The Guardian reported in 2022 on how Charlie Windsor had used the "queen's consent" procedure for his personal benefit. Ministers in the government led by John Major gave in to Charlie in order to avoid a feared constitutional crisis, or in the words of a civil servant "a major row".

"Queen's consent" means that Queen Windsor and her son are given the drafts of some new laws in order to check if they will have an impact on their powers, or interests such as the Duchy of Cornwall. Their consent is necessary before the bill can be approved by parliament.

More than 1000 bills have been submitted for approval to Windsor and son during her time as hereditary head of state.

The Guardian found that the Leasehold Reform Act 1993 had been changed following pressure from Charlie to protect his financial interests. In fact, four leasehold reform laws have been changed to suit the Windsors and to deny their leasehold tenants the rights that other leaseholders have.

Charlie was particularly worried about houses in a village in Somerset that pay rents to the Duchy of Cornwall, a money machine for the son of the head of state. He was so worried about lncome from these houses that he wrote about it to the prime minister.

The Duchy of Cornwall lawyers also got to work. They discreetly let the government know that they did not want Duchy tenants to have the right to buy their homes that other leaseholders have.

A civil servant advised ministers that Charlie saw no reason for giving up the houses and that if the government pressed ahead he would "wish to discuss it at the highest levels". That same civil servant warned of a possible "constitutional crisis" if Charlie did not get his way. At the least there would be "major row" if his knibs lost his rents.

One result of this interference in law-making is that Charlie continues to collect rents from his tenants. Another is that one family, the tenants of one of his properties, is unable to use their home as security to borrow in order to pay future social care bills.

The victory for feudal right is also a loss for British democracy.

Read the Guardian report in full

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