Why all the noise over the Queen’s Consent?

If there was a bill or act that was going to impact you or the properties you owned, you would want to be consulted on them, would you not, dear reader? If your answer is yes (and if you have any sense it will be), would you object to the Queen or the Prince of Wales being asked to look over and have a say on a bill that might impact them? One would hope the answer is no, you would not object. But, one can never be sure, given the hypocritical nature of certain members of the press and society.

The Guardian, a paper well known for being anti-monarchy and anti-democracy, claims to have done a ‘serious’ investigation that uncovered evidence suggesting that the Queen used a procedure known as Queen’s Consent to ‘lobby’ the government to change a draft law in order to conceal her private wealth from the public.  Almost immediately one can see that The Guardian’s agenda is clear. By using the words lobby and conceal, they are trying to paint the Queen as some sort of thief in the night, trying to deny Joe Public their due. The Guardian no doubt knows that their readership and the general public don’t like lobbyists, and don’t tend to like wealth hoarders, hence their use of those two terms. The Guardian no doubt hopes to stir up revulsion at what they claim the Queen has done. 

However, dear reader, let us remember that The Guardian does not actually explain what the Queen’s Consent is until the fourth paragraph of their article, and even then it takes a further two paragraphs before they go into any real detail. By that point, one can assume they’re counting on anyone who’s clicked on the article to have gone, given short attention spans and all that. 

So, what exactly is the Queen’s Consent, and is it truly that much of a contentious issue?

The Queen’s Consent is a parliamentary and constitutional procedure that is needed before Bills may be considered by Parliament, the provisions of which effect:

  • The Royal Prerogative 
  • The hereditary revenues of the Crown
  • The Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall
  • The Queen’s personal property such as Sandringham 

The Prince’s consent is the same as the Queen’s Consent and is sought from the Prince of Wales in respect to the Duchy of Cornwall or in respect to his lands and rights as Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.  A mere mention of the Duchy of Cornwall requires the legislation to be put before the Prince for his consent.

The consent of either the Queen or Prince must be sought and signified at or before a Bill’s Third Reading, either as given or refused. If refused, the Bill fails. 

Now, does this sound ominous, especially when the Palace itself has said that the Queen’s Consent is only a formality, and only refused if the ministers of the day advise the Queen to refuse it? 

Any reasonable person would think not. So, why has The Guardian gone out of its way to make it seem as if it is some great threat to ‘democracy?’

Well, as mentioned previously, the draft bill that The Guardian claims the Queen ‘lobbied’ to have changed so as not to disclose her own personal wealth during the 1970s, was a bill that would have perhaps forced her to reveal her shareholdings to the public. The bill was later amended to grant an exemption to companies used by ‘heads of state’ from the new transparency measures. Though as The Guardian itself admits-though not until further down in the article- the measure was concocted not by the Queen and her lawyers, but rather by the government of the day and the Bank of England, as both felt it might create an artificial lift in the market, which could have negative consequences.

The Guardian may think it has found something scandalous, but its claims that this is an anti-democratic measure is laughable. The Guardian is the paper that wished to overturn the Brexit vote and repeatedly sought to undermine confidence in democracy by touting a flawed conspiracy theory involving Russian meddling.  Such a paper cannot seriously claim to be concerned about democracy when its own writings and actions have done more to undermine confidence in democracy than anything else. Their fuss over the Queen’s Consent highlights their hypocrisy and shows they do not understand the constitution or human rights.

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