Buckingham Palace denies Queen lobbied government to conceal private wealth

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Buckingham Palace has described as “simply incorrect” a report that suggested the Queen blocked a piece of legislation in the 1970s to conceal her private wealth.

The Guardian reported that the monarch’s private lawyer had successfully lobbied the government to change a draft law enabling companies used by “heads of state” to be exempt from new transparency measures being considered at the time.

Material held in the National Archives showed that in November 1973, the head of state feared a Bill aimed at opening up company shareholdings may allow the public to scrutinise her finances, the paper reported.

As a result, the monarch’s lawyer spoke with civil servants at the then Department of Trade and Industry about the Companies Bill and proposed the Queen be exempted, The Guardian alleged.

According to the newspaper, a civil servant warned at the time of the risk of “embarrassing” disclosures if amendments were not made to the legislation, which became law in 1976 and applied until at least 2011.

The Guardian reported that the Queen’s private wealth has never officially been revealed although it is believed to amount to hundreds of millions of pounds.

Thomas Adams, an associate professor of law at Oxford University, told the paper the documents showed “the kind of influence over legislation that lobbyists would only dream of”.

However the palace has strongly denied the report, insisting claims the monarch had sought to block the Bill were “simply incorrect”.

Queen Elizabeth riding Balmoral Fern in Windsor Home Park last May. The Queen is set to enter the milestone 70th year of her reign

(PA)

A statement said: “Queen’s Consent is a parliamentary process, with the role of sovereign purely formal. Consent is always granted by the monarch where requested by government. Any assertion that the sovereign has blocked legislation is simply incorrect.

“Whether Queen’s Consent is required is decided by parliament, independently from the royal household, in matters that would affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the monarch.

“If consent is required, draft legislation is, by convention, put to the sovereign to grant solely on advice of ministers and as a matter of public record.”

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