House of Windsor split over new look

Plans to reform the Royal Family led to claims yesterday that Prince Philip is obstructing change, and counter-claims that MPs leaked details of the plan prematurely and embarrassed Buckingham Palace.

According to reports in several newspapers yesterday, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales are said to be on opposing sides on the reforms, with the Queen steering a difficult and delicate course, although she is aware of the public mood for change since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Prince Philip is known to have the support of the Queen Mother in his opposition to the proposals, which include the abolition of bowing and curtsying and the restriction of the title "royal highness". He is said to have strongly expressed his disapproval to Charles's office and Buckingham Palace officials.

The Duke's view is that the reforms of the l960s and 70s have not benefited the family, and going further down that path would weaken the monarchy. He is also believed to resent the perception that change is being driven by the death of the Princess of Wales.

The reform package was discussed by the Way Ahead group of Royal advisers presided over by the Queen and attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the Princess Royal.

There was said to be acute annoyance at the Palace that the details were then leaked to the press.

Some courtiers believe that Tony Blair's government is trying to bounce the Royal Family into carrying out sweeping reforms, and the leak was designed to create a fait accompli.

One source said: " This is not the first time this has happened. There has been a series of timed leaks, and discussion documents presented as facts. One has got to ask, who is driving the agenda and why?"

The Prime Minister and the majority of the Labour party are known strongly to favour the reforms.

Downing Street, however, has strenuously denied being responsible for the leaks.

Fresh evidence of the Government's desire for change came with reports that the Palace is being pressed to simplify the State Opening of Parliament by doing away with some of the traditional pomp.

Plans to reform the House of Lords, where the Queen makes her annual speech to Parliament, will now move ahead without further consultation with the Opposition.

Mr Blair is said to be angry at the leaking of contacts with the Conservatives on the reform package.

Moves to take the title of HRH away from the Duke of York's two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, was another issue causing problems.

Labour MP Alan Williams, a senior member of the influential Commons Public Accounts Committee, and a long-term critic royal expenditure, said that this might not be " the cleverest move, because some might interpret it, wrongly, as vindictive.

"I don't think it matters as far as the public are concerned.".

Mr Williams added that the rest of the reform proposals were merely cosmetic and a "PR exercise".

He continued that the Royal Family should face up to the fact that "five Royal palaces just aren't justified. The Royal Household, its hangers- on and the wider Royal Family have to address the fact that the public doesn't owe them accommodation".


Confusing. His father, Prince Andrew of Greece, was a member of the Danish royal family. His mother, Princess Alice of Battenburg, was "English", but the family had been German.

The Duke of Edinburgh was a Greek prince who spoke a mixture of English and German, with a smattering of Greek.


Perhaps the gaffe which caused the most trouble. Interviewed on radio after the massacre of children and with calls for gun control, he said: "If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat ... are you going to ban cricket bats ?"


Talking about his daughter and her love of equestrianism, the Duke snorted: "If it doesn't fart or eat hay, she isn't interested."


Loathes it. He has been repeatedly attacked by the media for his more controversial statements, some say unfairly. After the Dunblane comment one tabloid asked readers to call a particular number if they thought he was a fool.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn