Britain’s Prince Charles is facing a Westminster campaign that would strip him and his estate of special privileges, including tax exemptions and the power of veto.
A Labour peer, Lord Berkeley, is to propose a bill to the House of Lords that would remove the special privileges of the prince and his £800-million estate, which provides the monarch with an annual private income of £19 million.
According to Berkeley, the prince’s estate currently pays tax voluntarily, gets free advice from government lawyers and has exemptions from legislation that applies to other private sector bodies.
“It is time for parliament to consider the increasingly urgent matter of the Prince of Wales’s status and to modernize this medieval situation,” said Berkeley.
The bill would take away Prince Charles’ power of veto over new legislation, which could affect his private interests. Constitutional lawyers have described the veto power as a royal “nuclear deterrent” over public policy.
In addition, the move would strip the monarch of immunity from legislation covering everything from squatting to planning.
The proposed bill comes as Prince Charles is facing a growing scrutiny over his special constitutional status.
Last week, the Commons’ political and constitutional reform committee demanded changes to the “arcane” way Prince Charles and the British queen consent to bills, saying it “fuels speculation the monarchy has an undue influence on the legislative process.”
In addition, a Court of Appeal ruled on March 12 that the country’s attorney general, Dominic Grieve, had acted unlawfully when he blocked the publication of Prince Charles’ letters to government ministers.
Critics fear that the Prince of Wales could be taking advantage of his royal status to impose his controversial political views on the British government.
Prince Charles has been writing letters, known as the “black spider” memos, for several years to British politicians expressing his views on public issues.