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Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 12:44 GMT
Royal inquiry: Is it the solution?
The Prince of Wales' office has announced that there will be an internal inquiry into scandals sparked by the collapse of the Paul Burrell trial and allegations of rape at St James' Palace.

The Prince's private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, accompanied by a QC, will examine the circumstances surrounding the trial's end and claims that an alleged rape was improperly covered up in 1996.

But the Royal Family stopped short of setting up a full independent inquiry, although Sir Michael said it had not been ruled out and could take place in "due course".

The investigation will focus only on the Prince of Wales' household and will not look into the Queen's role in the collapse of the Burrell trial.

Do you think an internal inquiry will make a difference? What does the future hold for the Royals?

This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails is published below.

The papers and media can't find enough to occupy themselves, so we are going to be subjected to variations on a theme should we have a or should we not have a Royal Family. This unhealthy preoccupation must end soon please, It's been going on for years. I am quite ok with a Royal Family.
D Connor, England

Let's not pre-judge Sir Michael Peat's remit until we see it. He has a reputation for thoroughness and honesty. It irritates me to see so many people translating their own bias about the Royal Family into pre-judged conclusion about the outcome of this inquiry, which will certainly be held up to scrutiny after it is publicized. We should all be grateful for the increased transparency that the Royal Family has pursued, the changes in government that this fosters, and their obvious love and commitment to historic Britain and the new Britain. The Royal Family is one of Britain's greatest assets. To anti-Royals, I say, "Get a life," and appreciate that most of us outside Britain only care about you because of the historic role the Royal Family has made to world economic development, freedom, and human rights.
George Archibald, Virginia/USA

They're like a living soap opera

John, Czech Republic
Royal scandals keep us Brits fascinated- they're like a living soap opera, although it is important to remember all involved in the scandals are real people, with real rights and feelings. In cases such as this it cannot be brushed under the carpet, or influenced by the Queen. A public inquiry is needed to sort it out and then let it rest.
John, Czech Republic

As you all know in the end monarchy wins. Taxpayers lose out in the end. Good hunting for QCs. A good diversion in the press to disengage the minds from terrorism.
Chandran Sukumaran, Malaysia

The scepticism expressed by many, of the effectiveness of an internal enquiry is well founded. We should all remember that it is not just a matter of justice being done, rather it has to be seen to be done and when an enquiry is internal there will always be doubts as to its impartiality and objectiveness - whatever the credentials of those individual(s) responsible for effecting it. Charles deserves credit for setting up an enquiry but he should have taken that extra step.
Robert Stockfis, Thailand

Being a foreigner established in UK, I still find it confusing when hearing protests against Royal Family. As far as I can tell, most people who are against them are jealous of their money. These people should be made to understand that their own purses won't get any bigger even if Royals were to be axed tomorrow.
Holly, UK

To Holly: last time I checked the citizens of the UK have to pay in taxes for their royals to live as they do and must pay to upkeep them in their palaces. How does this not translate into an expense for the British citizens?

We should move on and create a proper, modern democracy.

Al, UK
The Royals still don't get it, do they? Why would they and their advisors think that the public would believe an inquiry headed by one of their paid (and ennobled) flunkies? Perhaps because he is quite clearly "a good chap" and a gentleman and therefore incorruptible - ignoring the fact that there is an endless procession of "good chaps" in the dock these days. In any case, he seems to have made his mind up already, referring to theories that he doesn't like as "implausible". Somebody should tell him that first you are supposed to look at the evidence! Why can't we just accept that the age of the royals and their hangers-on is over and we should move on and create a proper, modern democracy.
Al, UK

No, the internal inquiry will be a sham. But, it buys them time! The British public and the media that feeds it will find some other stupid things to "focus" on, perhaps Posh's latest hairdo! The British public never bothered with genuine or relevant news. This will be forgotten and not newsworthy in no time!
Patrick, UK

An internal inquiry is completely pointless because the Queen didn't do anything wrong. Her story as relayed by her officials is entirely plausible and makes complete sense. If there is anything to enquire about it should be the complete bumbling of the case by police for pressing charges that were completely unfounded and unsubstantiated in the first place. Those who are attacking the Queen should be ashamed for making such fools of themselves in public.
Richard Thiessen, Canada

This is a dinosaur of an institution, and we all know what happened to them!

Carol Charlton, England
The Royal family think they are still living in the 19th Century. Will they never learn. This is a dinosaur of an institution, and we all know what happened to them!
Carol Charlton, England

I have visited a few countries and people always want to talk about my Queen. They visit England just to see where she lives. We have something in this country that most countries have lost. Please do not encourage the people that moan at everything (the "I don't have so why should they" brigade). Surely the Queen is above all this. No I rephrase this, the Queen is above all this. Leave her alone.
Pamela Crane, Northampton England

I don't care. I am completely and utterly fed up with the media circus that follows every move of the sad mess called the Royal Family. Can't we forget about these irrelevant people and all get on with our real lives instead?
Dave Moran, Scotland/Australia

How can the Queen investigate and prosecute herself? Britain reminds me of Gulliver's travels to the land of the Lilliputians. How nice to have such a quaint institution as a monarchy which can transport us all back a few hundred years when heretics were put on the rack.
Mark, USA

I admire the fact that Prince Charles is making an effort to investigate this matter

James Frey, California, USA
I am not certain if an internal inquiry will get answers, but I admire the fact that Prince Charles is making an effort to investigate this matter instead of ignoring it. Perhaps it is time that Parliament considered enacting laws so that the next monarch will be an inaugural monarch, like Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, who will be subject to the law like everyone else.
James Frey, California, USA

This is all a storm in a teacup. The interest the public has in the trial is the same as the interest in any soap opera. Most people are too busy in their lives to really feel strongly about the legal procedures among the most upper class of the upper class. This is especially as the internal enquiry is being conducted by a knighted individual! Play your games but don't waste our money.
Mark H-Stewart, UK

The inquiry is clearly a waste of time. Getting at the truth would require members of the establishment to jeopardise their positions of power and privilege. That's about as likely as turkeys voting for Christmas.
Steve Roberts, UK

We will never know precisely what happened

Dominic Berry, Leeds, UK
This internal inquiry is entirely pointless. As long as police officers and others are too deferential to question the Queen, we will never know precisely what happened or who is to blame.
Dominic Berry, Leeds, UK

The internal inquiry is a sham. It marks another nail in the coffin of the monarchy in Britain, and another step closer to the Republic of Britain!
Derek Leach, England

Doubtless, an internal inquiry will make no difference. What would the United Kingdom be called without the monarchy? I note Derek Leach mentions Republic of Britain. I personally can't imagine that, any other suggestions?
Ciaran, Northern Ireland

Are the royal palaces in a position to order a public inquiry which would also involve the police and the Crown Prosecution Service? Surely they are only in a position to order an inquiry into their own roles. Wouldn't a full public enquiry come under the remit of the prime minister?
Elizabeth Miller, England

I have a suspicion that this whole issue is being hyped up to divert attention from the failure of the government to deliver improved public services for our increased taxes and take our minds off Tony Blair's insane preparation for war in the Middle East.
Brian W, UK

The Prince's private secretary is not the right person to carry out this inquiry

Michael Hewitt, UK
The Prince of Wales' private secretary is not the right person to carry out this inquiry. He is too close to the central characters in this sorry tale. The inquiry should be conducted by someone who is not beholden in any way to the Royal Family.
Michael Hewitt, UK

I think we all already know the results of this inquiry. It will exonerate the monarchy of any blame and this is purely because it is an internal inquiry. What employee would publicly conclude that their employer oversaw any wrongdoing or cover up if they wanted to keep their job?
L, Ireland

Sir Michael Peat seems to have already made up his mind on the salient points of his remit. Surely all this deference and secrecy would not be acceptable in any other 21st Century Western democracy! I would have absolutely no confidence in this internal inquiry and I cannot understand why anybody else would. It is a scandal for the UK and makes us a laughing stock in the civilised world.
Jim MacPhail, Scotland

Whatever the Royal Family do the minority of the population who are republicans will condemn them. They can't win.
Paul Galley, UK

A public inquiry will make a huge amount of difference, and will restore the good name of the monarchy. As a young person growing up in Britain I want a reformed, slimmed down monarchy.
Jack Mason, UK

As a republican, I find the Royals' image being damaged is not the worst news. However an inquiry might not be the best way to restore their image. I feel that this whole story should not be subject to an inquiry that will cost the British taxpayers money. The rape allegations should be investigated like any other - by the police, not the tabloids.
Robert Phillips, UK

If a crime was committed in my house it would be the subject of an open, public inquiry

Michael, Australia
There shouldn't be an internal inquiry. If a crime was committed in my house it would be the subject of an open, public inquiry. This is not medieval times when Royalty could do as they wished. Even they should be accountable. The future of the Royals is probably in the hands of the British people and each person can justify or not their reason for the keeping them as heads of state. Personally, I cannot see any reason for keeping this curious Germanic family.
Michael, Australia

Michael, Australia must have some strange laws if a crime in his house would generate a public inquiry! Surely it would be a police inquiry. And Robert, didn't the police investigate the rape accusations and find them without foundation?
David, Bahamas

An internal inquiry is pointless, and if it doesn't give the result peoples prejudices expect will be viewed as flawed. If there has been wrong doing then it is a police matter. What should stop is the tabloid press muckraking in an twisted effort to sell more copy.
John, UK

I don't think it will make a difference, I believe they will hold an inquiry but the people that don't want to believe the outcome won't. I'm amazed at the media and the British public for making this such an issue.
Angela Smith, USA

Angela this is the heir to the throne and our head of state we are talking about. Of course it is an issue. QE II is acting more like QE I. The problem is the Crown Prosecution Service has the Queen as its head and therefore is literaly above the law. The whole thing is ludicrous. We should either become a republic or reform the monarchy so that it is an honorary position only with no real power.
Martin, England

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10 Nov 02 | UK
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