A Brief Guide: Is the Family Impartial?
It is an essential part of the defence of a hereditary head of state that the royal family does not take sides in political debate. It is not true that family members keep themselves out of political controversy, however.
Although Liz Windsor has followed a "least said, soonest mended" doctrine, her support has been claimed by one subversive. In the 1960s newspaper publisher Cecil King, plotting against the government of Harold Wilson, broached the idea of a "national unity" government with "Lord" Mountbatten. He urged Mountbatten to give his support because the queen was "desperately worried about the whole situation."
Prior to the 2014 referendum on the secession of Scotland from the UK monarchist supporters of the union were keen for Windsor to show support for their side. Windsor was not publicly explicit in her support for the anti-secession side. But she did break her habits by stopping to speak to local people after a church service in Scotland. She told them that "I hope people will think very carefully about the future." This was widely understood as a subtle expression of support for the belief that independence would be disadvantageous for Scotland.
Her supposed opposition to independence seemed to be confirmed when Prime Minister David Cameron was heard to boast in what he thought was a private conversation that Windsor had "purred down the line" when he called to tell her that the vote in Scotland had gone against independence.
Windsor also intervened after the vote by calling for national reconciliation, asking the British people to cool their "strong feelings and contrasting emotions."
In 2016 Windsor was accused of intervening in the debate prior to the referendum on British membership of the European Union. The Sun newspaper claimed that she had expressed her scepticism about the EU both in a meeting with former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and at a reception at Buckingham Palace. The Sun did not name its sources for this report, although it described them as "different and impeccably placed".
Following the vote to leave the EU another family member broke the impartiality rule on the other side of the debate. Andrew Windsor, who also goes by "Duke of York" and "Prince Andrew", told business people at a private dinner in November 2016 that the UK's leaving of the EU and the election of Donald Trump as president of the USA would "tear things apart"
Less dangerously Liz Windsor's predecessor as monarch George Saxe-Coburg has been reported by writer Antonia Fraser to have "vetoed" a decision by Winston Churchill to name a battleship Cromwell during World War 1.
Liz Windsor let it be known during the administration of Margaret Thatcher that she disapproved of the attitude of the government towards South Africa and towards the poor in Britain. The "Queen Mother" on the other hand was far to the right in her politics. She toasted Britain's most controversial Prime Minister at her dinner table, adored P W Both the prime minister of apartheid South Africa and favoured appeasement of Nazi Germany.
In 2015 the Sun newspaper published images of her and seven-year old Liz Windsor giving Nazi salutes in a home movie. The so-called Prince Edward is seen encouraging them. On another occasion Edward said that Hitler was "not a bad chap". Edward was to become king of the UK for a few months in 1936 until he resigned in order to marry a divorced American
When Britain went to war with Nazi Germany it was inconceivable that the leading members of the family would not step into line with this decision. However, it seems unlikely that they would have abdicated their positions of wealth and privilege if the UK had instead allied with Germany.
The queen's husband. the "Duke of Edinburgh", is notorious for his slurs against a number of the ethnic and national groups that are represented in the population of Britain.
Charlie Windsor, (aka The Prince of Wales) has intervened very publicly to use his influence to deprive Britain of modern architectural works and to give advantage to one side in the debates about genetically modified food and homeopathic remedies.
In 2014 he made an unwelcome intervention in Britain's international relations by comparing Russian president Putin with Hitler at a time of tense relations between the two countries.
He writes letters to government departments, using his status to get policies changed to suit his wishes. Instead of telling him to stop, the government has tried to prevent the publication of these letters. The attorney general has admitted that this is because publication "would be seriously damaging to his role as future monarch because if he forfeits his position of political neutrality as heir to the throne he cannot easily recover it when he is king" In other words, it would confirm that the claim of Windsor political neutrality is a lie. Read the full story of Charlie's letters