Philip wades into battle for lottery cash

Duke of Edinburgh lobbies Major

The Duke of Edinburgh has stepped into the controversy over the way money is being spent from the National Lottery fund by appealing to the Prime Minister to intervene.

Prince Philip lobbied the Prime Minister when John Major spent a weekend with the Queen at Balmoral to reverse a decision by the National Heritage Memorial Fund not to back one of his pet projects, the expansion of the National Maritime Museum, in Greenwich.

A leaked letter from the Prime Minister's private office reveals that Prince Philip and the chairman of the museum's trustees, Lord Lewin, the former First Sea Lord and Chief of Defence Staff, were "considerably upset" at the way the National Heritage Memorial Fund rejected the museum's application for millions of pounds from the lottery for the Neptune Hall project.

The leak will provoke a fresh row about the way lottery money is being allocated by the NHMF, which was savagely criticised for paying about pounds 10m to the Conservative MP Winston Churchill for the Churchill papers and pounds 52m to the Royal Opera House.

Prince Philip raised the issue with Alex Allen, the Prime Minister's principal private secretary. Mr Allen then wrote to Hayden Phillips, permanent secretary at the Department of National Heritage. The fact that Mr Major authorised his private secretary to ask the heritage department to investigate shows he is concerned and may feel that Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for National Heritage, should act.

The Queen's private secretary, Sir Robert Fellowes, warned in an attached memorandum for Mr Major that the Neptune Hall project - part of a scheme to turn the Greenwich site into a world millennium centre - could be threatened by the NHMF's rejection.

Mr Allen's letter on Downing Street notepaper carries a "restricted" security code, but was leaked to Chris Smith, Labour's spokesman on heritage affairs, and passed to the Independent. Mr Smith said the memorandum by Sir Robert showed a "clear and sorry saga of incompetence" in vetting projects for lottery funds. He defended its disclosure as in the public interest.

"It has taken the intervention from the Royal Family to do something," he said. It will be exploited by Labour in a Commons attack on Thursday on the Government for its handling of the National Lottery.

"Things have come to a sorry pass when it takes the Royal Family to intervene to bring some sense to the lottery process. I don't blame Prince Philip for getting involved. It should not need to happen."

Mr Allen says in the letter to Mr Phillips: "During the Prime Minister's visit to Balmoral over the weekend, the Duke of Edinburgh spoke to me about the Neptune Hall project.

"He and Terry Lewin were both considerably upset by the way the National Heritage Memorial Fund had treated the National Maritime Museum's application. Sir Robert Fellowes subsequently gave me the attached note, which the Duke of Edinburgh has seen. I should be most grateful for your comments and advice."

Sir Robert accuses the fund of basing its decision on reports which showed "ignorance". He dismisses one of the reports on access for the disabled as "a waste of time and money".

The leak will also intensify the row over the Government's plans to privatise the adjoining Royal Naval College at Greenwich, which has also upset members of the Royal Family.

Catalogue of failure, page 2

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower