Prince Harry tells Meghan to ‘turn around’ on balcony in 2019
A Republican has said the £85million cost of the monarchy to the public purse is outrageous. Norman Baker, a former Lib Dem MP, said monarchies in Europe cost as little as £10m per year while back in 2011 Civil List in Britain paid the Royal Family just £7.9m.
He added that as a result of Charles’s interventions, Britons now pay £85m a year with the Windsors benefitting from tax exemptions on top of that.
Mr Baker, 65, told the BBC: “This is outrageous. Charles says he wants a full coronation. Again, in the opinion poll from October, 86 percent of people want a slimmed down coronation. He should start listening to people.”
The remarks come in the wake of Prince Harry‘s bombshell claims about the Royal Family, including that his brother, Prince William, physically attacked him and that his wife, Meghan Markle, was described as “rude”, “difficult” and “abrasive” by the first in line to the throne.
And in a tense meeting after Prince Philip’s funeral at Windsor, a grieving Charles, now King, told his sons: “Please, boys. Don’t make my final years a misery,” according to Harry’s book.
King Charles III leaves at the end of the Royal Family’s Christmas Day service
Prince Harry in a trailer for a forthcoming interview
Spare by Prince Harry will be released by publishers Penguin Random House on January 10, 2023.
The tell-all memoir, which was ghostwritten by Pulitzer Prize winner J R Moehringer, promises to be packed full of explosive revelations and insight into the Royal Family – and there’s even an audiobook read by the Duke of Sussex himself.
You can buy your copy of Spare on Amazon.
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Mr Baker said: “I think it doesn’t help the country very much what’s going on at the present time because this is the latest in a series of dysfunctional episodes in the Royal Family, stretching back 30 years now to when Charles betrayed Diana, having an affair with Camilla.
“What we do see, I think, is the deference which was afforded to Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation and throughout her reign hsa now vanished.
“There were sweeping changes during her reign and the monarchy was largely exempt from that because of her skill set. That’s no longer applying and Charles has come to the throne with a whole lot of baggage which the Queen herself didn’t have.
“But we still have the last imperial monarchy. We’ve got a monarchy which doesn’t pay taxes properly; which pays taxes voluntarily if at all; which exempts itself from laws in this country – 160 laws it’s given itself immunity from during the Queen’s last reigh and which takes a huge amount of public money far in excess of those which other European monarchies have, so this is the inheritance Charles has, which he has partly created himself because he’s argued for some of these measures to be retained.
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King Charles III leads the Royal Family on a walkabout at Sandringham
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at a gala in New York
“That is out of line with what the public want. An opinion poll in October last year showed 70 percent of people polled wanted a slimmed down monarchy.
“Charles has to move very quickly now to modernise the monarchy otherwise people will say what on earth is this institution in the 21st century?”
Asked if Harry’s memoir demonstrates the Royal Family is like the rest of us in their personal relationships, Mr Baker said: “Yes, absolutely. Every family’s dysfunctional to some degree and the Royal Family is no different in that regard.
“I don’t hold them responisble for that. But you can’t on the one hand be a normal family and on the other hand have all these special exemptions and special treatment which they claim to have because of the inheritance proposal which gives them their status in society today.
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The line of succession
“The whole basis of hereditary monarchy is somehow flawed. You can end up with someone who is very diligent and caring if you like, as the previous queen was, or you can end up with someone like Edward VIII who was very sympathetic to the Nazi regime in Germany. You don’t get to choose what kind of person you get and that’s a deep fault in the hereditary system.”
Mr Baker said claims made in Harry’s memoir decreases automatic support for the monarchy.
He added: “Charles, if he were wise, would take the opportunity to grasp this and say, ‘Okay, we need to modernise the Royal Family. We need to start paying taxes properly, we need to be subject to Freedom of Information which we are not in the same way as other public institutions, we need to stop claiming as much money from the public purse as we do. If he does that, he could actually use this in a constructive way to modernise the family and secure the future of the Royal Family.
“If he carries on regardless, sailing on as it were with no changes, at some point the public will react and say, ‘We’ve had enough of this’.”
Prince Harry and Prince William during the Queen’s funeral service
Asked what the president of a British republic might look like when the monarch is above politics, Mr Baker said: “Well, Charles isn’t above politics. We saw during his time as Prince of Wales he was deeply involved in politics, sending letters to ministers on matters which are way beyond his proper remit… We don’t know what he’s going to be doing now behind the scenes because he’s exempted himself from the Freedom of Information Act.
“When it came to a republic, the public would choose who they wanted to choose in that position. It could be anyone really. That would be a matter for the public to choose. If you ask me where I think the public are, genuinely as opposed to my philosophical beliefs, I think the public want to have a monarchy which is far more like a European monarchy, which doesn’t have hangers on, which doesn’t have 44 people on the Buckingham Palace balcony and which doesn’t take as much money from the public purse as [the monarchy does] in this country.”
The latest YouGov poll shows 60 percent of 1,690 survey respondents think Britain should keep the monarchy with 24 percent opposed and 15 percent undecided. YouGov’s poll was carried out from December 14-15 before claims from Harry’s book emerged, but around the time when the Sussexes’ Netflix documentary was first aired.
Graham Smith from the campaign group, Republic, said in a statement: “Whatever you think of the revelations in Harry’s book, this row is destroying the monarchy and any sense of mystery or mythology that has sustained it in the past.
“We can now see very ordinary, unimpressive people who are prone to quick tempers, fits of violence and petty jealousies.”
Mr Smith added: “Charles and William are not men we would elect as head of state, if we were given the chance, yet there they are.
“We have people at the top of our society most of us would actively vote against in a free and fair election, because the King and heir would not withstand the scrutiny and challenges that comes with that contest.”
Buckingham Palace says the Royal Household is committed to ensuring public money is spent “as wisely and efficiently as possible”. It also stands by a commitment to making royal finances as “transparent and comprehensible as possible”.
In April 2012, arrangements for the funding of Elizabeth II’s official duties changed with the introduction of a new system of funding, referred to as the Sovereign Grant. This replaced the Civil List and three Grants-in-Aid with a single, consolidated annual grant.
The Sovereign Grant was designed to be a more permanent arrangement than the old Civil List system, which was reign-specific.
Up until March 2012, the Civil List was the amount of money provided by the Government to meet the official expenses of Elizabeth II’s Household. About 70 per cent of the Civil List expenditure went on staff salaries, according to Buckingham Palace.