The group Republic, which campaigns for democratic alternatives to the monarchy, has criticised the Queen’s visit to yesterday morning’s cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street.
The 'courtesy visit' is the first by a reigning monarch in over 200 years. In theory the Queen, as a constitutional monarch, is supposed to steer clear of politics - though the Crown itself retains considerable influence.
“Inviting the Queen to attend cabinet is a PR stunt, but it’s a highly symbolic one – it’s a powerful reminder that Britain’s political system is feudal at heart,' declared Republic spokesperson Graham Smith.
He continued: "The government should be thinking of ways of opening up the political process and putting more power in the hands of the people – this sends exactly the opposite message.”
“At the end of a year that has seen continual revelations about Prince Charles’s political lobbying, the idea of inviting an unelected monarch to sit in on the business of government seems particularly inappropriate. Let’s hope Charles doesn’t get any ideas and think he can start attending cabinet every week,” said Mr Smith.
“Instead of fawning over the Queen, David Cameron should ask why the royals are exempted from freedom of information rules, why Prince Charles has a veto over legislation and why hard-pressed taxpayers are spending £200 million every year on one of Britain’s richest families,” he added.
* Republic: http://www.republic.org.uk/