This should once again put the Crown at the center of the discussions. In an article published on February 7, the British daily The Guardian made a most embarrassing revelation about the hidden activities of Queen Elizabeth II. According to the English newspaper, the latter succeeded, in the 1970s, in putting pressure on the government to obtain the amendment of a bill on transparency. His goal ? Hide from the British people and the rest of the world his incredible fortune, deemed “embarrassing”.
The British daily made the discovery in a series of government memos hidden in the National Archives. According to these documents, dated 1973, Elizabeth Windsor’s private lawyer lobbied ministers to obtain the amendment of a bill on transparency of corporate shareholders. At the time, the sovereign feared that the public disclosure of the activities of the latter would allow the population to scrutinize the content of its expenses and establish an estimate of the amount of its fortune.
Elizabeth II keeps the secret of her fortune
Following lobbying by the Queen’s lawyer, the British government inserted a clause exempting companies collaborating with the royal family from new transparency measures. At the same time, Elizabeth II oversaw the creation of a state-supported shell company. This allowed the sovereign to place a veil of secrecy on its private holdings and its investments at least until 2011.
At the time, the Queen got wind of this bill through an obscure parliamentary process known as “Queen’s Consent”. This convention, “firmly established” according to the royal family, obliges the ministers to alert the queen when the imminent modification of the legislation is likely to impact the private interests of the crown. It also allows the Queen to veto and prevent parliament from approving a bill, which Elizabeth II did not hesitate to do under this law on corporate transparency.
As a reminder, the amount of British crown heritage has never been revealed. His fortune, however, is estimated at several hundred million pounds.
Queen Elizabeth II of England attends a military ceremony celebrating her birthday at Windsor Castle in Bershire on June 13, 2020 © Agency