Q. How is the monarchy financed?

With a history of over a thousand years our monarchy has had ever-changing finances which were known about by few and understood by fewer. Today, the internet can reveal factual as well as incorrect and spurious information to those who wish to find out about how the monarchy is financed. The situation remains misunderstood by most people so it is hoped that this short coverage will accurately explain the situation in outline.

Additional to the monarch’s private income which is in part used for ‘official’ expenditure there are two revenue-producing Royal Duchy Estates and the Crown Estate which between them provide the major funds for the maintenance of the monarchy and the immediate Royal Family. (HRH the Duke of Edinburgh is the only member of the royal family in receipt of a parliamentary allowance.)

The one overall exception to the self-funding nature of the monarchy is the cost of security. This, as one might expect, is a government/local responsibility within the UK and the responsibility of each country where the monarch might visit. When the Queen visits Australia, federal and state governments will take up the costs. At all times, abroad and in the UK, the monarch is accompanied by personal bodyguards who are paid for by the British government but these are supplemented by other governments when the Queen is abroad. All governments around the world undertake to protect their respective head of state and visiting heads of state to their shores.

It is quite erroneous on the part of much of the media and certain individuals to keep repeating that the ‘monarchy is now costing the tax payer £x or $x’. Apart from security it is not directly costing anything. It is, with the exception of the Duke of Edinburgh’s allowance, entirely self-supporting from monies received from its traditional revenue sources. Many journalists and broadcasters and other ill-intentioned people are so ignorant of the facts of the matter (or they know but prefer not to say so) as to render whatever they write as worthless. The monarchy actually hands over huge sums of ‘surplus’ money to the UK government from the Crown Estate (see below).

As a matter of constitutional interest it is far better that our Sovereign does not have to go to the UK parliament and ask for money as has happened in the past. With a self-resourcing monarchy there is a degree of independence and although everything is strictly managed and the government is aware of how things are at any one time, the Sovereign can be just that little bit separated from the hurly burly of political machinations.

In Australia we do not pay a cent for the maintenance or security of the Sovereign. Only when she visits Australia at the request of the government are expenses incurred and these expenses depend on the planned itinerary. This applies equally to the other Realms.

Q. Are there any benefits in becoming a republic?

There are no discernible benefits as we already have as good a system as is humanly possible to devise but the answer below will address some of the points which republicans believe.

Republicans often say: We want an Australian for head of state but in fact this is already the case. The Governor-General, appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister, is the Sovereign's representative, is an Australian and, whilst in office, is effective head of state of Australia. It is important to know that once the Governor-General is appointed, the Sovereign steps back from all active engagement in day to day affairs and leaves them to the Governor-General. She is, however, regularly updated by the Governor-General's office as to what is going on and thus is aware of all the major issues affecting the country. Although the Sovereign (the Queen) appoints (and can dismiss) the Governor-General, it is always done on the advice of our prime minister.

The Queen serves the people by accepting the majority opinion (those who voted for the government and thus the prime minister) but equally protects those who did not. A monarch makes no distinction between peoples of a realm.

Republicans want Australia to be completely independent of the UK but this has definitively been the case since 1986. The UK has no involvement with Australian government at all. Australia is entirely independent. The fact that we share the body of the Queen with 15 other realms does not mean that our Crown is not independent. Yes, our history has been heavily influenced by Britain, (law and order, our parliamentary system, the checks and balances inherent within constitutional monarchy, the Christian basis of society) but these have enabled us to remain a democratic beacon to many in the world. Becoming a republic would negate much of this.

Republicans want either an elected or appointed person as president. Were Australia to follow this model then we would immediately lose all the neutrality which our monarchy gives us. The Queen, as Sovereign, is the people. She did not campaign for or influence affairs so as to gain office and thus she represents every member of society. An hereditary monarch serves all the people all the time. No republican model can come near this.

We would also lose the intangible historic link to our Founding in the late eighteenth century. It is our past which has made us the nation we are. The links connecting the past, present and future are inescapable and necessary to a country which is comfortable with itself. It is not a 'natural step', as republicans claim, to become a republic and 'close the circle'. Our monarchy contributed hugely to our past and present success and will continue to do so in the future. We are part of an ancient yet outwardly modern continuum of monarchy which has rich traditions and we are part of a family of similarly libertarian nations which although independent of each other, share the person of the Queen as their Sovereign.

Each state has its own Governor who is similarly appointed by the Sovereign but on the advice of the state premier. The States and their independence are integral to the smooth running of the Constitution. The checks and balances of monarchy apply as much at the state level as at the federal. Decentralisation makes for greater accountability. Were Australia to embrace republicanism we would gain nothing but lose much. With our system we are in the forefront of free countries in the world, most of which are monarchies. This is no coincidence. There is no better model of government for keeping ultimate power away from the unscrupulous than a resilient constitutional monarchy.

it stands to reason that if we are to remove what we have, we must replace it with a better system which is more effective in keeping politicians from abusing their position. No proposal which betters what we have has been put forward.

Q. Do you think there has been a shift in public opinion since the referendum of 1999?

Most definitely. Whilst many of those who voted “NO” in 1999, have died, many younger people have consistently indicated in polls and elsewhere that they are against change to our system. It is therefore probable that if a referendum were to be held in 2009, the vote against a republic would be higher than in 1999. That vote, when taken on an electoral basis, actually equated to 72% of federal electorates voting "NO”!

Q. Why is the Queen not an Australian citizen?

As Sovereign, the Queen is the font of Australian citizenship. Our passports are issued in the name of the Governor-General as Representative of the Queen. As Sovereign she is not nor cannot be a citizen of any of her Realms including the UK. The Queen does not have a passport.

Q. Should we adopt our own resident monarch after the Queen’s reign?

Whilst this seems to be feasible, we do not believe that the establishment of a separate Australian monarchy would be acceptable to the people. Even if it were, it would take very careful drafting to duplicate the conventions and reserve powers that are current under the Crown. The people to ask about this would be the republicans. i.e. If Australia has its own Australian-born monarch, would they give up? A major problem would be who would the person be and how would he be selected? This has been tried in other countries in the past and in some cases has been successful but most attempts were not and in all cases they were imposed on a nation quite unsure of itself. We in Australia know what we are about and it would be difficult (but not impossible) to have someone who was acceptable to most.

Q. Why isn’t there a political party based on monarchism?

This is something the League has looked at for some twenty years. The problem is, if say the AML became a political organisation, we would lose most of our active members who are members of the Liberal, National and Labor parties. We also have members of the Greens, the Christian Democrats and possible other parties. Most political parties have rules that members cannot be members of another political party. The other downside is that if we stood as a monarchist party and didn’t get many votes, because approximately two thirds of monarchists are Liberal/National voters and one third, Labor voters, this would be seen by the media, which are almost totally republican, as indicative of a low vote for the Monarchist cause itself.

Q. Why do republicans argue for an Australian head of state?

The argument "we want an Australian head of State" sounds trendy but is actually meaningless. Whenever republicans are asked what they actually mean by this they generally cannot explain. The term ‘Head of State’ came into being long after our Australian Constitution was drafted and was used mainly by presidents of republics to describe themselves. In Australia, we have a different system from a republic as we are a Constitutional Monarchy, the main benefit of which is that the Monarch, through the Governor-General acts as a guardian of our Constitution keeping absolute power from the hands of politicians. This is why, over the past 110+ years, Australia has gained an enviable reputation of political security and economic stability. 

Following appointment by the Queen, the Governor-General assumes all constitutional duties of the Crown and can be said to become our ‘Executive Head of State’ as he carries on similar duties to that of Heads of State of republics with the only residual power retained by the Queen being that of dismissing the Governor-General. That power is always exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister and the benefit in this indirect approach is that because the Prime Minister cannot by himself appoint or sack the Governor-General, the process becomes transparent and open to question by the public and the media and is therefore a safety valve and an important part of the checks and balances which pervade our entire constitutional system of governance.

Q. What are the disadvantages of adopting a republican system of government?

To answer this question specifically, we would need to know what type of republic is proposed. However, in a general sense to remove the Crown from our Constitution will be to eliminate the main safeguard against absolute control by politicians which was built into our Constitution by our Founding Fathers. The Monarch and, following appointment, the Governor-General are ‘above politics’ and are allegiant only to the people. If this were not so, how else could the people themselves have been required to vote on whether or not to retain the Crown in 1999? If Australia has an elected President, that person must be a politician for he, or she, would be required to campaign extensively in a similar manner to presidential campaigns in the United States. If a president is appointed by the Parliament, there will be extensive politicking to gain preselection. The successful candidate would also require the backing of a major political party. Our present system may not be perfect, but it is far superior to a political republic, which is what we would become.

Q. Does our constitutional monarchy restrict Australia’s freedom or national identity?

Quite the contrary and not in the least. It is our Constitution that underwrites the individual liberties and freedoms of the people, in spite of intrusions into our freedoms by politicians. Indeed, from the time Australia federated into one nation, it has had the ability to exercise independent thought. Whilst early Australian government continued strong administrative links with the British Government, this was at the Australian behest, because it was a new nation and sought guidance from the British. However, over the years Australia gradually assumed total independence and sovereignty. The Queen was declared in 1953 and again in 1973 by the Australian Parliament (see the Documents section) to be Queen of Australia and acts as such solely on the advice of the Australian government. The proof that we are totally independent of Britain can be seen in the fact that, in 1999, it was the Australian people themselves who voted on whether or not to retain The Crown: not the British Parliament and not The Queen, but the Australian people.

Q. What are the symbols of our monarchy?

Coats of Arms, Standards, Cyphers and Badges

The names above are all connected with visual recognition of either place or person. They are each subtly different from the other and each has a history of hundreds of years. Those illustrated below are obviously, recent examples of a rich tradition.

This very brief overview which pertains to Australia will give some insight into the use of design and symbolism for representation. The official name of this art is armory but is more commonly known as heraldry. Those who want to investigate the subject further can find vast amounts of material on the internet and in book form. Two ‘classic’ and very thorough texts are: Arthur Charles Fox-Davies: Complete guide to heraldry and Boutell’s Heraldry revised by C W Scott-Giles. A well-illustrated general view of the history and present situation is Stephen Slater’s Living heraldry.

Coat of Arms

Quite literally and in the early centuries of heraldic art, the design of a family’s arms was worn over armour. Almost certainly (there is some doubt) this was to aid recognition of who was inside the armour and, in summer heat, as a means of deflecting the sun’s rays from the metal of the armour and thus providing some sort of cooling. The material of the coat varied. As a monarch it was more likely to be a light silk or satin and for a knight perhaps linen or calico. The coat was worn in battle and for tournaments.

The term coat of arms now only applies to literal coats in respect to heralds who still wear their coats (correctly called ‘tabards’) on ceremonial occasions in the UK. These days the term applies to a shield, its crest and where appropriate, supporters i.e. a representation of an animal or person who ‘holds’ the shield upright.

The Coat of Arms of Australia has an emu and kangaroo as supporters and they are standing on a stylised base intertwined with flowering wattle. The kangaroo holds the Shield which has, within an ermine border, a representation of the badge of each of the six states. The state of Victoria is in the ‘second quarter’ as its badge includes a crown above the southern cross and thus acts as a central theme to the whole design. Above the shield is a crest of a 7 pointed gold star (the six states and a point for the territories) resting on its wreath. Usually the wreath sits atop a helmet but in this case not so. The symbolism is self-evident.

Each State has its own coat of arms usually related to the symbol shown in Australia’s coat of arms e.g.

South Australia
but Queensland is different:

Standard

This is another name for a flag with a rectangular shape often ending in two points. Back in the early years of heraldry standards were flown before and during battle and keeping the standard flying was de rigeur. The idea of fighting for/behind a standard goes back to ancient civilizations and it might be argued that it is one of many basic ‘western’ practices the origins of which are lost in time.The convention continued for hundreds of years and is still maintained today in armed forces units (‘colours’) where flags take on hugely significant meaning. The annual Trooping of the Colour ceremony in London is an example.

In respect to the Sovereign (or the Governor-General or Governor) the standard is flown wherever that person is at the time. When the Queen is in Australia (or a member of the immediate royal family) a standard will be flown - on an aeroplane upon arrival/departure, on a car, a building ... It is part of the system of government which we enjoy that the presence of the Sovereign or Representative of the Sovereign is publicly known.

Each Governor has his standard, the Governor-General has one and the Queen herself.


The Queen’s Standard

The Queen’s standard is flown whenever she is in Australia or when she is abroad and acting as Queen of Australia. It is basically the shield from Australia’s Coat of Arms onto which has been added the crest (7 pointed gold star) but with a blue disc within the star which has the letter E surmounted by a crown and surrounded by a gold garland of roses. The Royal Standard has precedence over all other flags.


The Governor-General’s Standard

This has a royal blue background and a direct copy of the crest of the Queen’s United Kingdom arms above a scroll with the words Commonwealth of Australia. The crest is of a lion statant guardant (this heraldic description means: standing sideways on four paws and looking directly at the viewer) surmounted by a crown and standing on St Edward’s Crown. (St Edward’s Crown is the crown with which monarchs are ‘crowned’.)

Each State Governor has a standard which generally incorporates the badge of the State. e.g. New South Wales

Cypher

A cypher is used only by the Sovereign and is akin to a monogram. The Queen uses her cypher throughout her Realms.


Badge

This is an abbreviated quasi-heraldic device which can be used instead of or additional to a coat of arms. Many badges become symbols of what they represent as effectively (some might say more effectively) as a coat of arms. Each State of Australia has a badge related to the symbols associated with the state. Badges are useful in that they can be used by household members or people/institutions generally associated with the person whose badge it is whereas a coat of arms or a standard is correctly useable only by the person whose coat it is.

The Sovereign does not have any particular badge associated with the office as there are so many symbolic images from hundreds of years of history which have and still do, in some cases, symbolise the individual that to use one would be to exclude the others. These days the Queen uses a monogram or cypher. See above.


The badge of the Governor-General

The badge takes its floral inspiration from the Australian coat of arms.

Each State Governor has a badge of office. The device(s) used on the badge usually relate to the devices used on the State’s Coat of Arms.

New South Wales
Queensland
Tasmania
South Australia
Western Australia
Victoria

Q. What are the Commonwealth Realms?

These are independent kingdoms where Elizabeth II is Queen and Sovereign. There are 16 of them (see below) and all are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Each Realm, being independent of all the others, titles the Queen differently.

The 16 realms are:

  1. Antigua and Bermuda
  2. Australia
  3. Bahamas
  4. Barbados
  5. Belize
  6. Canada
  7. Grenada
  8. Jamaica
  9. New Zealand
  10. Papua New Guinea
  11. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  12. Saint Lucia
  13. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  14. Solomon Islands
  15. Tuvalu
  16. United Kingdom

The Queen’s title within Australia is:
Elizabeth II by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.

Her title in the UK is very similar:
Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

In many respects the Commonwealth Realms is an amazing grouping as it is unique in the history of constitutional law because of its shared Sovereign, voluntary nature and its geographical spread. Because of the sharing of the person of the monarch countries within the Realms and Commonwealth generally do not have ambassadors but High Commissioners instead. As all the Realms are Commonwealth members the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting often has time set aside for the Realms to discuss common issues. As the Queen is Head of the Commonwealth it is usual for the monarch to attend these meetings wherever they may be held.

The Queen cannot be in 16 places at any one time and so in 15 cases a viceroy, i.e. a Governor-General, is appointed to carry out all the functions which the Queen would perform were she resident. The Governor-General is appointed by the Queen on the advice, in Australia’s case, of the prime minister. (In PNG and the Solomon Islands the Governor-General is elected by parliamentary vote and the name submitted to the Queen for approval.) Whenever the Queen visits one of her Realms (generally at the invitation of that Realm’s government) her absence from the UK is covered by various protocols to ensure that government continues. But the Queen still receives the red boxes of government business wherever she is.

The monarch’s presence in any one of the 16 Realms (or when she is acting in her capacity as Queen of that country even if she is not in residence) is announced by the flying of the Royal Standard of that country - if it has one. This is an ancient practice now used by most heads of state (at least when travelling by car), but in our case the Standard is flown wherever the Queen is at any one time.

The Queen’s standard in Australia (or when she is representing Australia abroad) is:

For comparison her standard in the UK (but not Scotland) is:

In small Realms such as Tuvalu the Queen is most likely to use the standard of the Governor-General.

In the Commonwealth where the Queen is Head she has no part to play in the day to day administration. This is taken care of by a Secretary-General who is elected by the heads of government, but she is without doubt the unifying force behind this 54 nation grouping and she has always taken a strong interest in its development. The Realms are within the Commonwealth and they share the Queen as Sovereign and therefore have a much closer relationship with her. The remaining 33 nations are either republics or have separate royal houses but all acknowledge the Queen as Head.

The office of Head of the Commonwealth is currently not hereditary but it is to be hoped that it might become so as the future King of the Commonwealth Realms would be an ideal unifying force for this burgeoning group of nations which account for nearly a third of the world’s people.

Q. Why are we one of the few countries to still have a coronation for a new Sovereign?

Unlike all other European monarchies we retain the ancient ceremony of coronation in which we anoint and crown our monarchs. The ceremony’s beginnings are lost in history but there is undoubtedly a connexion with ancient biblical practices later exemplified by the Anglo-Saxons and through their culture to our earlier post-Norman history. The ceremony was codified in the fourteenth century in the Liber Regalis and this illustrated manuscript (housed in Westminster Abbey) still forms the basis of coronations.

A coronation is a Christian religious ceremony in which the monarch consecrates himself to God and to the people. It is a life-changing event where the monarch devotes the remainder of his life to the service of his people and is thus of the highest significance especially so when considered as the continuation of the fifteen hundred years of history which precede it. At the end of the ceremony the monarch is anointed and crowned, has sworn an oath to serve the people and has received their acclamation, loyalty and approval in return.

It might be considered these days that such an overt embrace of Christianity in a ceremony which is based on the centrality of sacrifice and commitment of one individual to the common good is old-fashioned. Coronations throughout the centuries have all been subtly different one from the other. At the last coronation (of Elizabeth II) representatives from all the other major religions were present in the abbey and took part in sections of the ceremony. This would have been unthinkable in the distant past. It is quite possible that in the next coronation other religions may take a more active role concomitant with the central Christian core. In the end however, we need to remember that the history of the UK and Australia has always rested on its Christian foundations and it is still one of the determining features of our libertarian and democratic way of life. It cannot be forgotten and should not be sidelined.

Much has been written on the subject of coronation and there are other sections on this website which deal with it in more detail but suffice to say here that the ritual and splendid words and music and setting which accompany the ceremony reinforce the fact that the monarch makes a series of affirmations relating to the moral values necessary to maintain a well-governed and good society. These values are unchanging and are reflected in Law and Justice and in the authority of the monarch whose role it is to ensure that right is done to all equally.

No republic can ever match this. Presidents take oaths of office, other European monarchies have toned-down their ceremonies to fit their style but it is our monarch who devotes his or her whole life to the maintenance of our freedom and good government. This is something with which we can be immensely proud to be part of. It has served us well since Foundation and will continue to do so.

Q. What is meant by the word 'crown'?

The term ‘the Crown’ and how it is variously used is misunderstood by many. At the most basic it is the name given to the bejewelled object placed on the head of a monarch at his crowning and in our case also worn by the Sovereign at openings of the UK parliament. It symbolises supreme authority and its use is almost as old as monarchy itself. From fairy tales to modern sporting success, to be crowned is to have reached the top. It is the most easily recognised and most used of all the symbols of monarchy.

It is only when we begin to use the word in relation to its non-material form that misunderstandings abound. At this stage we need to understand the nature of the crown and in particular its legal and political implications. Does it mean ‘the government’ and thus an aggregated corporation of ministers and central government officials or is it the monarch and all subjects together or is it simply the monarch alone, in other words in legal parlance, a ‘corporation sole’? These are matters of legal judgements and argument but can the crown be both ‘sole’ and ‘aggregate’? What do we mean when we say that it is the ‘property of the Crown’? Can we equate this with government which often acts in the Crown’s name and enforces law through its naming or is it something traditionally associated with the monarch such as Windsor Castle?

In law, we generally invoke the idea of the Crown as a symbol of executive authority - the monarch’s cypher or standard or coat of arms or simply a symbol of a crown can and should be seen in government offices and in law courts as they represent ultimate authority. The Sovereign is the People and all law and government is done under the Sovereign’s (our) authority. Most people forget or do not know this. The Queen-in- Parliament is the ultimate authority because the Queen is our protector and she exists through and with our democratically elected politicians and thus we have in one person someone who is all of us. Politicians are there to serve the Sovereign (us) and not themselves. Many politicians do not accept this basic aspect of constitutional monarchy and whilst they are theoretically our representatives in practice they expect us to be the instruments of their will.

Many lawyers and constitutionalists refer to the Sovereign’s two bodies: the body natural and the body politic. The Sovereign is a human being who eats and sleeps and will die like the rest of us - this is the body natural but the Sovereign is also Law and Justice and fount of Honour and that is the body politic. In law every breach of the peace is a transgression against the Sovereign/the Crown and less directly, us (and of course the recipient of the wrong doing). When sentence is passed only the Crown can deliver and remit punishment through those deputised to deal with legal matters. Everything is done in the Crown’s name because, and I repeat, the monarch or Sovereign summates us. For as long as the monarch lives (and when one monarch dies the heir assumes the throne immediately) there will always be someone to serve and protect us through the Constitution and by being the Sovereign power.

For a better understanding of the complexities that attend the meaning of the Crown Maurice Sunkin and Sebastian Payne’s edited book, The nature of the crown: a legal and political analysis (OUP,1999) is well written and comprehensive but as the editors might well say themselves, not definitive. There can probably be no definitive summary of such a topic as it so enmeshed into the fabric of our society that to unravel it would be impossible but suffice to say that the word ‘Crown’ can be used in many different contexts as partly shown above and can mean different things in these different contexts.

Q. What is meant by the word 'sovereignty'?

This is a topic which has had much written about it but in respect to the monarchy and Australia where we refer to the king or queen as Sovereign it can be defined as supreme authority. The sovereignty of the monarch consists in her being Queen-in-parliament i.e. she rules through parliament which is a reflection of the wishes of the majority of people and she is ultimately responsible for letting right be done to the people. She is in fact the representative and guardian of all the people.

A useful analogy for understanding sovereignty comes from a mix of historical sources where the symbol of the chariot of the body is used to describe the component parts of monarchy: the Sovereign is the charioteer, the horses which pull the chariot (which is the State) are the people and the reins are the parliament. The charioteer steers the horses and chariot into safety by applying a light touch to the reins. The horses can sometimes be swept by passion but it is the charioteer, through the careful use of the reins of parliament, who can ensure that the passions are controlled sufficiently for a good path to be found for their expression.

Sovereignty (the supreme and ultimate authority) rests in other words with the Sovereign as She is the people i.e. the guardian of the welfare of the people at all times. That is why all members of the Federal parliament must constitutionally declare an oath of fealty to the Queen. They are in fact, through the Queen, declaring their subservience to the people. We, the people, elect our politicians to represent us but they must declare on oath of loyalty to the Queen who is our Guardian. The fact that today many oaths of loyalty have been removed is ultimately detrimental to our freedoms. When we refer to ‘the Australian people’ and swear an oath to them, it has no substance because it has no sense. One cannot swear an oath to millions of people as they have no unified voice. It is only through the Sovereign, whose whole life is dedicated to serving the Australian people and thus being in fact they themselves, that sense applies. Were oaths of allegiance to be made mandatory on all politicians (and judiciary) our freedoms and political processes would become more resilient. The same thinking applies to immigrants who become new citizens. All should be allegiant to the Queen by oath.

The Governor-General is our Head of State when in office and can be seen as effectively taking temporary control of the chariot. The same constitutional processes apply as the Governor-General takes advice and operates through parliament. It is the Queen who appoints the Governor-General on the advice of her government and it is only the Queen who can dismiss a Governor-General (or in some cases prolong an appointment). This logic applies to the State Governors who are representatives within their respective States.

The Queen, residing as she does in her oldest realm for most of the time, does not carry out the day to day functions of office as these are left to the Governor-General but her existence, wherever she happens to be, is sufficient to maintain ultimate order. She is aware at all times of what is happening in the country as the Governor-General regularly informs her and of course she has advice from her own staff as well. The day to day dealings of management are carried out by the Governor-General and it is the Governor-General who commissions a new prime minister or calls an election and has, if needs be, the prerogatives powers to sort out constitutional problems. The Queen is watchful from a distance and as she herself has said it is ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.

Sovereignty is absolute, it cannot be logically shared nor is it ever willingly placed in the hands of the people because then there is anarchy. Our system of hereditary constitutional (or parliamentary) monarchy is the finest system for a free society yet devised as it is ultimately reliant on one person whose life is dedicated to the maintenance of order and good government at all times. It has evolved over hundreds of years and has become what it is now. Some might say that authority needs tightening and that the Queen should have more powers but it is far better that the Queen not be open to abuse from her subjects who might feel that through the use of these theoretical extra powers she has disturbed the peace. It is for politicians to wield the day to day power but it is for the Queen to wield the ultimate power by simply existing. Of course there are subtleties interwoven throughout these outlines but the essence is that the existence of the Sovereign denies ultimate power to politicians and others. When one Sovereign dies the transfer of ultimate responsibility is immediate. There is never a time when our sovereignty as a people is in doubt.

The people are the natural control on authority and the monarch-in-parliament is their guardian and it is for the politicians and judiciary to maintain this modus operandi. Any prime minister or politician who disturbs this balance must ultimately be prepared for dismissal or possible non-election but whatever the case, our sovereignty is solid.

The United Nations and its sanctioning of interventions in certain countries, the actions of various of our governments which have signed treaties without reference to us and even the judgements of the International Criminal Court have together weakened our sovereignty. The EU is an example particularly pertinent to the UK and it is these areas that we as a people need to be aware of and to sometimes raise concern.

We always have to be on guard to maintain our Queen and our sovereignty through the upholding of the Constitution. Unscrupulous and power-seeking politicians and pressure groups will often do their best to circumvent or change the Constitution to suit themselves.

Q. What is the Crown Estate?

The Crown Estate is, as the term suggests, an estate (land, property, investments) owned by the Crown. Its origins in the eleventh century can be traced to William the Conqueror and since that time, as one might imagine, there have been many changes in its size, wealth and income potential. In its current form (strictly controlled by statute) the Estate is worth approximately £8 billion and produces a revenue which varies from year to year but at the time of writing is somewhere around £240 million. Currently the monarchy receives 15% of this annual profit (always in arrears) and the remainder is given to HM Treasury. This money pays for the major expenses of the monarchy.

Under the term ‘major expenses’ comes Royal Household salaries, travel, maintenance of the official residences and the Chapels Royal, entertainment, utilities such as electricity, maintenance of parts of the Historic Royal Palaces, supplies, financing the Royal Mews etc.

Although the Crown Estate (CE) is owned by the Crown it is not, these days, the monarch’s personal estate. It has been integral to the financing of the Crown since it was first formed in the eleventh century and although it has varied in size and value over the years it has been the financial backbone of the monarchy ever since its inception. 85% of the revenue of the Estate is given to the government which at the time of writing stands at over £200 million.

The CE is run by a body appointed by the Queen and collectively called the Crown Estate Commissioners. They are independent of government but are accountable to parliament as well as the Crown. The CE is run under strict guidelines and is commercially responsible i.e. it is expected to ‘enhance its value and the return obtained from it, but with due regard to the requirements of good management’. (Crown Estate Act 1961, S. 1(3)

Whereas before 2012 the monarch received a grant (Civil List) from the government for expenses and when this grant was, after years of stagnation, increased there were cries from some that this was ‘taxpayers’ money’. In fact, even then, it was incorrect as the CE’s revenues were given completely to the government. Since the Sovereign Grant Act 2011 there can now be no question of any misunderstanding in respect to the financing of the monarchy: the monarchy funds itself from its own historic resources and what is more gives 85% of the profits of the resources of the CE to the government. It is quite wrong and entirely misleading for critics to keep repeating the lie of direct taxpayer funding.

Read more: http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk

Q. Does the Prince of Wales have an allowance?

No, the Prince has the historic rights to the surplus monies from the estate of the Duchy of Cornwall as he is, additional to being Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cornwall.

The Duchy of Cornwall and the title ‘Duke of Cornwall’ is automatically given to whoever is the eldest surviving son (soon to be ‘child’) of the monarch and thus heir to the throne. The Duchy was created in 1337. The current Prince of Wales is the 24th Duke of Cornwall.

The Duchy of Cornwall Estate (131350 acres in 24 counties) produces a net surplus annually and this money is used by the Prince to meet his official and private commitments and those of his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall as well as his sons Princes William and Harry. He does not receive any monies from the government. Some of the revenue is also used to support the Prince’s charitable work. Although the income from the Estate is tax exempt, the Prince voluntarily pays tax on the revenues at the highest rate. Parliamentary legislation governs the activities of the Estate and in particular the rule that the investment portfolio must be run on a commercial basis. The Prince’s Council (chaired by the Prince of Wales) is responsible for overall guidance in the running of the Estate.

The Prince, in order to provide for future Dukes of Cornwall, must pass the Estate on either intact or in an improved state.

Read more: http://www.duchyofcornwall.org

Q. How are Prince William and Prince Harry financed?

Their financial support comes from the surplus of monies from their father’s Duchy of Cornwall Estate (see above).

Q. The Queen’s finances

These are separate from finances relating to maintenance of the monarchy.

On the death of her father King George VI, the Queen inherited two private family residences and their attached estates: Sandringham House (20,000 acres) and Balmoral Castle (49,000 acres). The Queen has a private income from investments and from the above-named estates but what this income is and how the assets are managed is her business. The Queen volunteered to pay income tax on her private income and is taxed at prevailing rates.

Much media speculation as to the Queen’s personal financial worth is spurious. She does not own Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace or the crown jewels or the Royal Collection and she has no control over the capital of the Duchy of Lancaster. These are all hers by right of being Sovereign and although she is responsible for the maintenance of the buildings, she holds them and everything else in this category of assets, in trust for her successors and nation. She may well have more private money than you or I but far less than someone else. We do not know and it is not our business to know but media chatter about vast untold riches and of her being the world’s wealthiest women are nonsense.

The two Royal Duchies

There are two ancient Royal Duchies which belong to the monarchy and have done so for hundreds of years. This is no different from hundreds of families who still retain their ancient houses and lands. Both the Duchies have large revenue-producing Estates attached to them and the monies from these Estates contribute to the running costs of the monarchy. Both Royal Duchies are ‘held in trust’ for successors and so the capital assets cannot be sold or altered but they generate revenues which support the monarch, the Prince of Wales and some members of the royal family.

Duchy of Lancaster

This ancient Royal Duchy (founded 1265 and belonging to the Sovereign since 1399) is administered on behalf of the Sovereign by the Chancellor and the Duchy Council and is overseen by a government minister. The Queen is Duke of Lancaster (not ‘Duchess’) by right of being Sovereign and the Estate is held in trust by her for her successor, the next Sovereign.

Additional to her own private income some of the income from the Duchy of Lancaster can be used to meet private expenses. The income from the Estate (known as the Privy Purse) is used in part for official expenses but also for private expenditure. Much of it goes toward the maintenance of members of the immediate family (see next paragraph). The Estate is separately run to the Crown Estate and all revenue profits are taxed.

Much of the Queen’s private or Duchy of Lancaster income goes toward supporting members of the immediate royal family who are engaged in royal duties and responsibilities i.e. her children: The Duke of York, The Earl of Wessex and The Princess Royal, and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke and Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra. Although the amounts paid to these members of the family vary from year to year the total annual cost is c. £1.25 million. The Prince of Wales and Princes William and Harry are financed from the other royal duchy, the Duchy of Cornwall estate. (See below.) HRH the Duke of Edinburgh is paid a basic allowance by parliament but this is increased by the Queen from private sources.

Read more: http://www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk

Duchy of Cornwall

The Duchy of Cornwall and the title ‘Duke of Cornwall’ is automatically given to whoever is the eldest surviving son (soon to be ‘child’) of the monarch and thus heir to the throne. The Duchy was created in 1337. The current Prince of Wales is the 24th Duke of Cornwall.

The Duchy of Cornwall Estate (131350 acres in 24 counties) produces a net surplus annually and this money is used by the Prince to meet his official and private commitments and those of his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall as well as his sons Princes William and Harry. He does not receive any monies from the government. Some of the revenue is also used to support the Prince’s charitable work. Although the income from the Estate is tax exempt, the Prince voluntarily pays tax on the revenues at the highest rate. Parliamentary legislation governs the activities of the Estate and in particular the rule that the investment portfolio must be run on a commercial basis. The Prince’s Council (chaired by the Prince of Wales) is responsible for overall guidance in the running of the Estate.

The Prince, in order to provide for future Dukes of Cornwall, must pass the Estate on either intact or in an improved state.

Read more: http://www.duchyofcornwall.org

The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate is, as the term suggests, an estate (land, property, investments) owned by the Crown. Its origins in the eleventh century can be traced to William the Conqueror and since that time, as one might imagine, there have been many changes in its size, wealth and income potential. In its current form (strictly controlled by statute) the Estate is worth approximately £8 billion and produces a revenue which varies from year to year but at the time of writing is somewhere around £240 million. Currently the monarchy receives 15% of this annual profit (always in arrears) and the remainder is given to HM Treasury. This money pays for the major expenses of the monarchy.

Under the term ‘major expenses’ comes Royal Household salaries, travel, maintenance of the official residences and the Chapels Royal, entertainment, utilities such as electricity, maintenance of parts of the Historic Royal Palaces, supplies, financing the Royal Mews etc.

Although the Crown Estate (CE) is owned by the Crown it is not, these days, the monarch’s personal estate. It has been integral to the financing of the Crown since it was first formed in the eleventh century and although it has varied in size and value over the years it has been the backbone of the monarchy ever since its inception. 85% of the revenue of the Estate is given to the government which at the time of writing stands at over £200 million.

The CE is run by a body appointed by the Queen and collectively called the Crown Estate Commissioners. They are independent of government but are accountable to parliament as well as the Crown. The CE is run under strict guidelines and is commercially responsible i.e. it is expected to ‘enhance its value and the return obtained from it, but with due regard to the requirements of good management’. (Crown Estate Act 1961, S. 1(3)

Whereas before 2012 the monarch received a grant (Civil List) from the government for expenses and when this grant was, after years of stagnation, increased there were cries from some that this was ‘taxpayers’ money’. In fact, even then, it was incorrect as the CE’s revenues were given completely to the government. Since the Sovereign Grant Act 2011 there can now be no question of any misunderstanding in respect to the financing of the monarchy: the monarchy funds itself from its own historic resources and what is more gives 85% of the profits of the resources of the CE to the government. It is quite wrong and entirely misleading for critics to keep repeating the lie of direct taxpayer funding.

Read more: http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk

Q. Who has oversight of the finances?

The coordinator of the separate sources of monies for the maintenance of the monarchy and the person who has overall responsibility for the management of the Sovereign’s affairs is the Keeper of the Privy Purse. He and the Deputy Treasurer are responsible for all aspects of the practical day to day functioning of the monarchy’s finances. None of the money come from direct ‘taxpayer funded’ sources as all are either private to the Queen or hers by right as Sovereign. Both the Crown Estate and the Duchy of Lancaster are profit making estates and in the case of the former, returns vast sums to the government for its own use. The monarchy, with one exception in respect to HRH Duke of Edinburgh, is entirely self-funding.

Accounting is carried out on an annual basis and the figures are publicly available. As our monarchy is a constitutional or parliamentary monarchy, the government keeps an eye on the running of the three estates (Crown, Lancaster, Cornwall) to ensure that those responsible are working for the good of the long term survival of the estates and by extension, for the good of the monarch. In Australia the Sovereign’s representative, the Governor-General does likewise and the situation is the same with the State Governors and parliaments. In summary if the three Estates in the UK are managed well then the monarchy can be funded adequately and HM Treasury will gain as well.