The following article appeared in the News Of The World, a salacious tabloid that usually aims for the lowest common denominator. In keeping with that the article was entitled "ROYAL BLOODBATH"!!! However the title actually belies the articles content, which is informative and outlines some impending changes in British Royalty; changes that are sweeping and to an extent that has not been seen for centuries. It's debatable whether these would have been considered even 5 years ago; but in the aftermath of Diana's death and the fact that suspicions over it will not go away the changes outlined here now seem quite possible. One might even say that what follows is the monarchy's defensive response to the suspicions and accusations over Diana's demise.
ROYAL BLOODBATH by Clive Goodman
THE QUEEN has secretly agreed to a plan that will change the face of the monarchy for ever.
It will create a two-tier royal family - those who represent Britain and have all the privileges that go with their regal status, and those who want to continue with business careers but must pack up their belongings, move out of their palace homes and give up the lavish perks that go with them.
The review is so swingeing that the Queen will ultimately be able to close Kensington Palace, below left, and save £1.1 million of public money a year.
The move will be devastating for all the less high-ranking royals, but especially for Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
"They're absolutely torn in two over this," a royal aide told the News of the World.
"Prince Edward couldn't cope with no longer being seen as fully royal but they are desperately worried about their finances and feel they need to stay in business."
Senior royal staff began the first round of interviews with members of the family last week. They are expected to last for at least another seven days.
"It is pretty apparent to some of them what sort of future they are heading for," said an aide. "They're like French aristocrats lining up for the guillotine."
The root-and-branch review of the monarchy has been running since the News of the World exposed Sophie Wessex's business dealings last month.
She touted for clients for her PR firm R-JH by admitting that her royal status was "an unspoken benefit...something that happens."
The massive row that followed confirmed senior royals' worst suspicions that their heritage was in danger of being turned into a cheap marketing tool.
But the inquiry has also picked up on many of the reforms already discussed in the Queen's 'Way Ahead' group of senior royals and aides.
The architects of the new plan - private secretary Sir Robin Janvrin, keeper of the privy purse Sir Michael Peat and Lord Chamberlain Richard Luce - were given the Queen's full permission to "think the unthinkable."
This is how it will work and who it will affect:
All but the most senior family members are to be told they cannot have a private career and still be considered royal.
'Senior royals' are the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. Apart from Charles, whose business profits go to charity, none of the others has commercial interests so their lives would be unaffected.
It was felt that Prince Charles could not be governed by this review because it would be impossible to exclude the heir to the throne from public duties.
But those most seriously affected are Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Sophie, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra and her husband Sir Angus Ogilvy.
If they wish to remain in business life they will be:
BANNED from any public duties.
STRIPPED of routine police protection except in cases of real danger.
BARRED from access to diplomatic and political perks.
MOVED from royal palaces to private residences, and
FORBIDDEN from using their royal titles for private gain. However, if they want to stay within the royal family they must commit themselves full time, their living costs will be met but they will give up all freedom to the business interests.
Each of those affected could see a significant change in their lives.
Although Prince Edward's birthright to use the title His Royal Highness would not be stripped from him, both he and Sophie would be "vigorously" discouraged from using it on any money-making project.
The choice of work or royalty has split the couple. Edward is reluctant to leave his life of rank and privilege while Sophie dreads becoming trapped in a golden royal cage.
One remaining fully royal and the other stepping back from any royal life is understood not to be an option.
Prince Andrew is affected after being told to give up his plans to start a sports sponsorship business.
"Any form of business would be incompatible with his new royal role as the man promoting British businesses overseas," said a close friend of the family.
Only the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret's lives will remain unchanged.
Sir Robin Janvrin and his colleagues had considered a royal register of interests, much
like the one used by MPs in the House of Commons. But this idea was dismissed as "a disaster waiting to happen."
A senior aide explained: "It would have been a constant source of scandal as people demanded to know if this helicopter flight or that business deal had been accounted for.
"It's much cleaner to have a total break with all those who want to work to support the sovereign doing so, and all those who want to retain their independence genuinely standing on their own two feet."
The palace also believe their results of the review are so fundamental that they have no plans to announce them until after the general election for fear of turning republicanism into a voter issue.
"This is the biggest royal bloodbath since Oliver Cromwell," the aide added. "In five years the royal family will be unrecognisable.
"It's far more drastic than anything which could have been proposed by politicians but the Queen wants to stop in its tracks any criticism."
The aide continued: "Many of these ideas - both from the Way Ahead group and the latest review - were to be introduced organically as the family naturally moved on through deaths and altered circumstance, but needs change."
Pictured below: Queen Elizabeth contemplates her future?