Son of head of state given confidential papers

In December 2015 it was revealed that the son of the head of state, like his mother, is allowed to read all cabinet memoranda. These include secret proposals for legislation and discussion documents that are kept secret from most citizens for thirty years.

Mr. Windsor is on the “standard circulation” list for these memoranda. The “precedent book” that contains this list had been kept in a locked cupboard in a locked office in a secure corridor at the Cabinet Office. For three years the Cabinet Office fought a freedom of information application fromĀ RepublicĀ in an attempt to stop the people of Britain knowing what was in it.

That was not surprising. For the disclosure made clear that although Mr. Windsor has no official state position, he has the privilege of access to information only known to the prime minister, cabinet ministers and very senior civil servants. He and his principal private secretary are shown information that even junior government ministers are not allowed to see.

The precedent book is a guide to cabinet procedures. A chapter on relations with the Windsors and examples of communications between Ms. Windsor and the cabinet secretary are still secret.