Friday, December 18, 2015

Information is Power to the British Royal Family




Courtesy:  The Wall Street Journal

Some people, especially many in America it seems, have told me they think the Queen of England currently has a purely ornamental role and is not at all involved in political issues.

An answer to that delicate question is in an article in Daily Beast today, however, called "The Power Games of Prince Charles and Prince William." It very cogently explains how this is not so and concerns the royals' access to information.

Turns out the royal family, including the Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William, and who knows how many others of them, have access to information otherwise shared only with the highest elected level of officials.

Is it likely the royals do nothing with their knowledge?

I don't suppose so. The monarchy wouldn't ignore a challenge because it's not expected of them. Britain isn't a democracy; it's a monarchy. Anyone who thinks it's a democracy is only speaking of certain specific issues.

Interestingly, the article claims a law passed in 2010 gave total exemptions to the royal family from freedom of information rules. It's surprising when you think about it that it hadn't been done earlier than five years ago. Not that I, for one, am at all in the least surprised. Britain hasn't ever been a true democracy.

These exemptions are just worth noting to those who stubbornly insist the Queen does nothing but dress up in fancy dresses for her dinners (and there are a surprising number of Americans who believe that of her) and for anyone who believes Britain is a democracy. But then, we saw Helen Mirren in "The Queen" ply the Prime Minister for information once a week. All that royal effort sounds to me so exhausting.

Queen Elizabeth II's reign has been remarkably peaceful for the country, just as it was for her long-lived female predecessor Queen Victoria, whom she has outlived. One has to wonder whether the winds of time will blow as charitably on her son and grandson as they did for her.

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