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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
Whatever the Royal Family do the minority of the population who are republicans will condemn them. They can't win.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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