Flat White

Harry and Meghan: ignore the so-called experts and leave them alone

10 January 2020

12:00 PM

10 January 2020

12:00 PM

Forget about Royal ‘experts’ who claim that there is some ‘Royal Split’, that Prince Charles and Prince William are ‘incandescent’ and that the Queen is  ‘deeply upset’ about Prince Harry’s and Meghan’s intention to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen, the Commonwealth and their patronages.

This tawdry beat-up was launched at the very time President Trump was to declare his assessment concerning the situation in the Middle East, even rivalling it for prominence on page one.

Its veracity may well rival the verbatim report endlessly repeated over the years about the disparaging things the Duke allegedly said about the voters in the Australian republic referendum as the results came in on 6 November 1999 and its landslide defeat became clear, as well as of the Queen’s alleged surprise and lack of understanding.

This was repeated over and over by assorted “royal watchers” – including a “republican royal watcher” and even a former governor of an Australian state.

We subsequently obtained a scoop for the website of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, the testimony of someone who was actually dining with The Queen and the Duke on the night of the referendum, the widely syndicated Canadian, Mark Steyn.  He wrote in the leading Canadian journal, Macleans, on 21 April 2006:

“As the only journalist on the planet within six feet of a royal facial expression that day, I can exclusively reveal that I haven’t the foggiest as to the Queen’s or the Duke of Edinburgh’s feelings.’’

Now with this story about a ‘Royal Split’, our fake Australian republicans are having a field day, hoping against hope that it is at last that elusive silver bullet which will deliver some politicians’ republic into their grasping hands.

Actually this event, this adjustment, however important to the Royal Family, is of absolutely no constitutional relevance in Australia.  The Duke is already sixth in the line of succession, much respected but unlikely to be our future king.

This recalls the fact that in the 1999 referendum campaign, Malcolm Turnbull’s republicans attacked ACM  for the sin of ‘not mentioning the Queen.’  What we were in fact doing was that notwithstanding her extraordinary qualities, we chose not to campaign on these but only on constitutional issues.  A campaign about the virtues of the Queen would have been to our advantage, but we preferred to stress the institutional issues.

As to the current reporting on the Royal Family, why do so many in the media untruthfully report that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are maintained by the British taxpayer and that the renovations of their home at Windsor are also being paid for by the same royally downtrodden UK taxpayer.

This is not at all true.

The Royal Family are effectively self-funded. Indeed they are self-funded volunteers. That is how they offer leadership beyond politics, leadership which would be shredded in an Australian politicians’ republic.

Their offices, their staff, the functions they hold and the maintenance of the buildings in which these activities are conducted are paid for not by the taxpayer but from the income of the Crown Estate.

The Crown  Estate is not the taxpayers’; it consists of the hereditary possessions of the Sovereign, in, as constitutional lawyers say, ‘the right of the Crown’.

The Queen has agreed that this to be paid into the Treasury where it is effectively taxed at the rate of 75 per cent, reduced from 85 per cent, to allow for the proper restoration of Buckingham Palace.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the British press, it is not the taxpayers who subsidise the Royals

Presuming that you pay tax, it is you as British taxpayers who are subsidised— and subsidised most handsomely― by the Royals. 

To continue the story about the Crown Estate, the balance after tax is then transferred to the Queen, not to spend but to cover costs. This is called the ‘Sovereign Grant’, a misnomer which should be corrected. How can the Queen be granted what is her own? The money which goes into the Treasury is the Queen’s profits.  What the government keeps, a greedy 75 per cent, is tax; what the Queen receives is her own surplus.   

Anyway, a mere five per cent of the cost of Harry and Meghan’s office is paid by the Queen from the Sovereign Grant. This is what they have decided to forgo to become ‘financially independent ‘.

What they want to do is to balance their time, as volunteers, between the United Kingdom and North America, but while continuing to honour their duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and their many wonderful patronages. This geographic balance will enable them to raise their son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing their family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of their new charitable entity.    

All of this is an evolution both as to activities and as to geography.  They will be continuing their magnificent voluntary unpaid work in those wonderful projects such as Sentebale: The Princes’ Fund for Lesotho, the Invictus Games, in HIV/AIDS and in what will be the Sussex Royal: The Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

It must be remembered that Prince Harry has long been dedicated to service, as we saw in his military career on active service. Now he and the Duchess are clearly committed to service as volunteers in their wonderful projects.

They will be adopting their own media policy. As the victim of gross violations by delinquent sections of the media in the past and recalling his mothers’ experience, it is understandable that the Duke and also the Duchess would not wish to continue with old policies.

They are entitled to their privacy and to some respect for the enormous contribution they make without any financial return.

This is a beat-up, a storm in a media teacup.

While there are obviously some administrative details to be completed, this is about the gentle evolution of one family within our Royal Family.

They remain dedicated to their duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and their many wonderful patronages.  Leave them alone.

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