Leading article: A picture of wealth

THE QUEEN got herself into a spot of public-relations bother a few years ago when a louche Sunday newspaper insisted on calling her "the world's richest woman". A pained Palace spokesman pointed out that this valuation included the royal art collection, which could not be regarded as the Queen's personal property since it belonged to the nation. Well, you could have fooled us.

Yesterday, plans were unveiled for a new art gallery at Buckingham Palace so that we, her subjects, can see some of the 9,000 pictures she has in her various attics. Except that we will have to pay for the privilege of seeing our own pictures. At a time when the Government is trying to reverse the trend towards charging for museums and art galleries, the Queen's new spin doctorate has missed a chance to win friends by opening the doors for free.