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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 15:46 GMT
Edward and Sophie: Right to quit business roles?
The Earl and Countess of Wessex have announced they are standing down from their business roles.
Prince Edward said after the couple had fulfilled their current obligations they would "cease to have any connection" with their separate companies.
The reason for their decision is to support the Queen during her Golden Jubilee, but the move is permanent.
Are they right to quit or should they be able to pursue a professional career?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Who gives a stuff if Eddy and his missus give up work?
Chris B, England
I'm sure most of us would be happy never to read another word about either of them.
When are we in Britain going to grow up and stop giving reverence and attention to people who have never done anything to deserve it?
Edward and Sophie should do exactly what they want to do, and everyone else should mind their own business.
You have to laugh at the naivety of the comments from the USA. Firstly, taking News of the World articles as some sort of valid commentary on Modern Britain beggars belief. And secondly, the Wessex¿s may not receive from the Civil List, but they receive from the Queen who does, no prizes for guessing who foots the bill ultimately. Finally, if you are so fed up with people expressing their own personal views then don¿t log on!!
Edward had a successful company producing films about a topic he knew well, until, we the public, became upset that he was using his connections.
Who hasn't used their connections, be it family or friends to obtain something they want?
In addition I would rather have a film about the Royal family made by someone who understands it rather than an outsider who views it as history.
If Paul Stephens cared to look at his UK passport he would find that he is a "British Citizen" already.
Mark Rotherham, Britain
Gordon, UK, and Thomas, USA, mistakenly assume that the only public money which the royals receive comes from the Civil List, which I agree is a trifling amount. However, they obviously don't realise that the bulk of public money spent on the royals is actually channelled through the expenses of government departments, so as not to arouse public opinion. For example, ever thought how much it costs to maintain the so-called "purple airspace" over Britain? Never heard of it? Its airspace reserved exclusively for the royals, and it has to be controlled like any other airspace; it costs us tens of millions, which comes out of Department of Transport coffers, filled by - us. And how did the royal family acquire the vast estates which provide their "private" incomes? They didn't pay for them. And did you know the Duke of Edinburgh's forestry operations were funded by government grants? I could go on, but I'll finish with a question. Where IS Wessex anyway? I can't find it on a map.
I am beginning to understand what the Aussies mean by "whinging poms". There has always been an underlying fear and dislike of success in the UK, constantly putting people down who have more than you. So what if the Wessexes are to perform royal work for the Queen, they raise more money for one charity than the average Brit will ever give in a whole lifetime. The royal family are not perfect by any means, but are you? Let the Royals and the Wessexes get on with their lives. If the media stopped dealing in intrigue there might be less of a negative aspect of opinion throughout society. And would you all stop complaining about taxes, be informed for once, the royals pay for themselves.
Surly this is not a serious debate. Who cares what they or other so-called royals do. It's all garbage. This constant fixation with these welfare bums is making England
a laughing stock around the world.
James Crosby, Telford, England
Let them work, but leave them to get on with it, no handouts from the taxpayer.
Andrew and Anne should get a raise as well. Does anyone know how much taxes Ed and Sophie have paid in since they were married?
Losing Sophie and Ed will be a huge blow to the British business but nobless oblige, they must put their heads together, noses to the grindstone, for queen and country.
For some years now minor royals, like the Wessexes, receive money, at the Queen's discretion, out of the total sum paid to her with no extra cost to the taxpayer. As to however it was who suggested that Prince Charles give up profits from "Duchy Originals" why should he? The income from the Duchy of Cornwall is entirely his and he receives nothing from the taxpayer. As a consequence he is entitled to make as much profit as he can in order to support his family.
I propose a radical solution to the whole thing. When the next monarch accedes the throne how about Parliament refusing the traditional offer from the monarch to give up their hereditary right to income from the Crown Estates in return for losing the Civil List? Given that the Crown Estates encompass a huge income - including the rents etc. due from a whole heap of prime real estate (Regents Street, many of the streets around Regents Park in London and very many other areas) this should prove an admirable solution. With today's real estate values the estate should do considerably more than compensate the monarch for the loss of the Civil List. On the other hand the taxpayer can feel much happier that they are no longer subsidising the Crown. Too bad that public services would undoubtedly suffer but that's what people - or the media at least - seem to want
I would have preferred the Wessexes relinquish their (dubious) royal titles and pursue careers. The idea of a streamlined monarchy is a good one, and by all means, let it begin with the gold-digging Wessexes. By the way, I will never consider Sophie "royal". She simply married one, and a minor royal at that.
Somehow it is what is expected of them. Fine couple doing the right thing.
Princess Margaret's children seemed to be able to have successful careers without this media hassle Many of us in Canada enjoyed Edwards TV programme and it is a pity that they are not allowed to continue to earn their bread and butter like the rest of the people.
David (UK) and Thomas (USA) have a rather naive and simplistic perspective on how they think the lifestyles of even these "minor" royal passengers are funded - directly or indirectly, the effect is the same... we pay, they prosper. Those are the facts!
David Hazel, UK
They have every right to quit work if they want to. However, we, the public, should not then be expected to pick up their costs! It is bad enough that we have to pay for the 'Top Tier' royals, without having the rest of them jump on the bandwagon. There are thousands of homeless people who would benefit far more form the cash. Let's hope the queen keeps them rather than the public in general.
Get informed Brits!
They should drop their so-called 'royal' status and keep the day jobs. They are surplus to requirements as are the rest of the family.
Whether they resign or not is unimportant, however the civil list should be slashed and the queen pay for them out of her own pocket not ours!
Would that we all had the choice!
Well, Tony, I am sick at the lot of you Brits-like Mr Porritt-who don't check the facts before they write. The Wessexes are NOT supported by the taxpayer. Read the Royal web site before you complain. And another thing, Brits have been CITIZENS since 1948...the Queen and her family have used the word themselves. The chap from the News (sic) of the World sums up the hypocrisy that makes up so much of modern Britain.
It's entirely their choice.
Just recall, please, that the purpose of the Civil List, the Grants-in-Aid and the Privy Purse, is to enable our monarch to run a household and carry out civil duties.
When compared to the costs of the major public services (NHS/Defence/Education etc), it is a fractional amount.
Give them proper jobs (Edward could learn plumbing perhaps?) and move them in to a council house in Slough.
I'm really perplexed by all of these spineless subjects of our monarchy who insist that they bring in millions of foreign exchange. What rubbish! You might have the odd deranged American or Paris Match obsessed Frenchman who spends a few nights a year over here but it's hardly worth the subsidy. I would like to see a professional audit into why tourists come to this country and how much of that income is down to the Queen and her ilk. I would very surprised if the Royals even broke even.
Robert Crosby of Nottingham should get his facts straight and not just trot out propaganda. Whilst it is true that Edward and Sophie are nominally on the Civil List, the queen actually reimburses that money, and more, to the Exchequer.
I can't believe the suggestion that they could lead normal lives - look how many comments are generated on this board alone about this issue, people feel the urge to state that they are of no importance (so why comment?), and tell me any of these royals could suddenly start leading normal lives. Even the most ardent anti-monarchist is fascinated by their lives. No royal can lead a normal life and the general public has no one but themselves to blame.
As I do a lot of voluntary work for charities, I have been invited to meet royalty on occasions at small private functions. I have found them to be interested and extremely well informed about the work of the charity, and the ability to make me feel the important one, - not them. Now that is a great skill that we could all do more of. I personally am aware of royalty fitting in just another evening function to help raise funds for charities at very short notice. I don't think they are any better than I am, but I really respect their commitment to making our country a better place.
Seems to me they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't. Can't people get on with their lives in peace instead of this pitiful crowing about what someone else is doing?
To all those who whine self-righteously about not wanting to be "subjects" of the Queen: You're not. For at least the last 40 or 50 years, you have officially been "a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
As to Edward saying being in business was the greatest challenge he'd ever tackled, what a short memory he has. There was another challenge: completing his term of contract with the Royal Marines. He didn't rise to that challenge, so the challenge you couldn't rise to is the greatest challenge of your life, Ed.
Liam Mckenna (16), UK
Let them keep their 'jobs', but make them stand on their own feet without any more charity from the taxpayer.
They should get real jobs. You would think that with their connections they could get something in TV or public relations.
Since they seem unable to carry on with their careers without getting into the most embarrassing controversies, it's all for the best.
What the Wessex's do, and how they spend their time, is nothing to do with us. If Mum wishes to support them - again it is nothing to do with us. If the Wessex's perform a public duty, then like any other person, they are entitled to be paid. It is then up to those that represent us to decide what the renumeration should be. As already stated: It is well to remember that "The Royals" (Greater and Lesser) do bring in a lot of foreign exchange which directly or indirectly benefits us. The amount of foreign orders generated by "The Royals" is also quite large. I think that we owe them a break, don't you
Why is it that every article I read about the Royal family, other than the Queen and Queen Mother, appears to be negative.
I feel sorry for them, they can't win! Does this mean that the Prince of Wales will remove all his Duchy products from most retailers?!!!! The Royal Family desperately need some glamour,these two will hopefully help to restore some much needed improvements in the stuffy House of Windsor!
Paul Stephens, UK
The media has got what it demanded, the Wessex couple to not earn a living. The public were not bothered one way or another. Why does the media complain now? Make up your minds! You are beginning to bore us with your hypocrisy.
I'm a British expat living abroad and therefore, thankfully, I don't have to suffer the ridiculous media ramblings about the Royal family. I'm suprised any of them are sane with the amount of scrutiny paid to every detail of their lives. They work extremely hard in difficult circumstances, often away from their families. Let's put it into perspective and think about how they promote business and tourism in the UK and what a dreary country we would be without them.
I still believe the monarchy has a lot to give the Commonwealth. I am not convinced that a republic status would be any better. Just look at some of the antics in other countries. Most people are not aware of the shortcomings elsewhere because they do not read the foreign press.
There is an old adage,you don't know what you had until it's gone! so all you nay-sayers,where the heck would you be without the "royals"? It's pride, loyalty, land of hope & glory & some sorrow. Edward and Sophie
should get recompense, to me they have shown an ability to stand on their own two feet.
They should earn their keep like the rest of us, by working.
I believe the Earl and Countess of Wessex would do less harm by renouncing theirRoyal links and continuing in their 'failed' businesses! But then again,I am a Scot!!
Who really cares about these people? Media are just playing there usual pandering role and reinforcing the images of these nobodies in our minds so their presence will bear some kind of relevance in our minds. There are far mor pressing issues at hand than this patronizing issue.
Following thier disastrous business ventures, charities must be quaking in their boots at the news that Edward and Sophie want to lend then their support. The sheer arrogance of them that they think they have anything to offer charities!
Jack Hatfield, UK
I was rather excited to see that there were some Royals out there who were actually going to earn their bread, if they weren't going to be monarch someday. How sorry I am that it all ended so dismally. Royals should not lag about on at the taxpayer's expense, but should go out there and contribute just like everyone else. Sophie and Edward paved the way, but were crushed in the process. Let's hope the next batch of Royals does it a bit better.
Well if they feel they have to it's a personal choice. But they will be the first to be attacked by the same six-faced media who accuse royals of being on the gravy train due to title- what was so wrong with being royal but having a real job and not being on the civil list ie. being real people other than the titles and the house? As far as I'm concerned, they were right to be independent.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex are privileged to be able,by way of the money they receive from the UK taxpayer,to take a break from business life.I know many self employed people who woud love to take a break from the daily grind of business life but they have those annoying things called mortgages and loans to pay off.I bet the Earl and Countess do not have to worry about paying the mortgage !!
Another case of opting out when they can, Royal Marines, really useful theatre co. etc. Never mind, mummy will look after you. I only hope that Britain's business confidence around the world does not plummet after this momentous announcement.
They are going from
doing something to
doing nothing! Wow,
what a life?
I enjoyed Edward's video series and will miss any future efforts. As for the countess, she's no more prone to mistakes than the average business person. Good luck to them I say - at least they tried.
What's wrong with the quitting? it's like you quit your job and find another one or just quit because you are tired of it. What's our concern if they decide they don't want to do it anymore and go travelling? Is there anyone in this world who doesn't want to spend their time with their parents?
Anarchist, Anywhere and everywhere
I care more about the coming weather..."Mainly sunny with a chance of snow flurries"
Most people will have to wait until they are 65 before they can start playing games!!
I didn't think this wretched Jubilee could become even more of a non-event, but clearly I was wrong! Does anyone really care if the Wessexes join in the 'fun' or not? I certainly don't!
What is it about we Brits that makes us hate our Royal Family when much of the rest of the world is desperate for something similar? Leave them alone! They cost the country money, sure, but how much do they also raise in tourism, if nothing else? Now that the Wessexes are doing what they are "supposed" to do, we criticise them for that too! They can't win!
Why should they give up their professional careers? I think the point the media was making is that they should not use their royal connections to gain favour in any potential business deals they made which they clearly are not able to do, or they would still have their own careers, right? Just as long as the UK taxpayer doesn't end up footing the bill for their deciding to assist the Queen during her Golden Jubilee.
Presumably there is enough cash in the personal Windsor family coffers to keep them off the street and I don't think that they ever, relatively, earned that much in private business. They have proven to be 'accident prone' and, in the case of the Countess, extremely naive and so further embarrassments will be avoided. In terms of what happens now, who cares if the Queen bankrolls them with her own cash? They aren't the first to benefit from being from a wealthy family and they surely won't be the last, to say otherwise smacks of jealousy from anti-Monarchists. If the Monarchy ceased to exist, no more Civil list and the any 'Public' wealth redistributed, my guess is that the Windsor family wouldn't be short of a few quid...and without the media harrassment.
They've done exactly what the media suggested was the right thing to do, choose, royalty or business, but not both. So I see no reason for anything but praise, not roaring adulation, they haven't both given up a kidney or their bank accounts to the needy, but they've done what was asked of them.
It was a disgrace that the Wessexes performed virtually no public duties whilst receiving public money, at least in name. But then the monarchy scarcely needs the help of two such talentless people either.
Born and raised in the UK and now living in the USA for most of the year because I was expatriated by a British business, my views may be different to those still in the UK. The monarchy is a tremendous asset to the UK. Much of the tourist income is associated with Britain's royal traditions. The media have hounded the Wessexes for using their connections to enhance their businesses. All businessmen use their connections in this way. Now, after the Jubilee year is over, the Wessexes will be hounded and derided as freeloaders.
The Brits don't know when they are well off.
A classic case of "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." Regardless of whether one supports the royals or not, you have to feel a certain amount of sympathy for the impossible position the media puts them in.
Now that Edward and Sophie are not to be in paid/earned employment, what will the cost be to each of the subjects of the Queen? Will they earn their early retirement?
Steve, United Kingdom
Really they should quit the Royal Family and go to work like the rest of us, without any of their attempts to bolster themselves by using the spurious regal connection. Now they are "fulfilling their role" all it means is that we are picking up the tab for their unnecessary "royal" role. Failure in business = we find their salary.
Who cares what this pair do?
I find it very odd that they are at top of news
Maybe the fact that their company was dying a long slow and painful death contributed to their decision.
It's really rather sad - Edward and Sophie seem to be the only royal couple of their generation who actually spend most of their time with their spouse. Let them remain "royal" - and remain "a couple".
Terence Gaffney, England/USA
They're damned if they do, and they are damned if they don't. Who are their judges? The media in Britain and around the world.
They are wrong to resign from the business enterprise which is their own personal success story. Instead they should detach themselves from the monarchy, that unpalatable anachronism.
All the "young" immediate royals have given Her Majesty such heartbreak and embarrassment over the years, and the Wessexes have also added adverse publicity. Their quieter spotlight from the public eye will free the Queen from further frustration.
Sounds to me like a thinly disguised excuse to step away from a dimming media spotlight which has highlighted weakness rather than strength, and into another which initially promises to be more benign. Frankly, if it were my Jubilee year and I wanted it to run smoothly and without embarrassment, I would robustly resist the attentions of the rather infamous Wessex double act. God help our gracious Queen.
Goodness! Does anyone really care one way or the other?
Gee, must be nice to be able to just drop everything and go join mum for some partying and travel.
As I see it the Royal couple have acted no worse then anyone else in business. Who can honestly say their every action is above reproach? For goodness sake let the Press leave them alone. No doubt the Queen will recompense where it is appropriate.
Well Ron, I agree no-one is above reproach. However, most of us don't get appropriate recompense from the Queen for such behaviour.
Personally, I'm sick of the lot of them.
Tony Walker - no, I don't. And I think the actions of our royal family, which is supposedly the nation's figurehead, and which is funded at our expense, is everything to do with us. We have a perfect right to question their actions and level criticism where it is warranted. That's what democracy and freedom of speech are all about, however disturbing such concepts might seem to fervent royalists.
02 Mar 02 | UK
Sophie and Edward quit business roles
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