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Friday, 6 July, 2001, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Duke defends Royal earners
Duke of Edinburgh
The duke believes Royals can juggle duty and careers
The Duke of Edinburgh has won a battle with Prince Charles and the Princess Royal over the right of minor Royals to run their own businesses, according to Whitehall sources.

Prince Philip has reportedly forced the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Luce, who has drawn up guidelines relating to minor Royals, to dilute proposed restrictions on their business activities.

The original proposals would have prevented the Earl and Countess of Wessex from continuing their film production and public relations businesses, while they remained working members of the Royal Family.

The guidelines - due to be announced next week - are understood to be similar to the existing rules, the Guardian reveals.

The newspaper suggests the Duke of Edinburgh's victory has angered Downing Street, which was keen to end the links between Royals representing the government and running their own commercial businesses.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex
The duke has endorsed a future for working Royals

Sources say the Royal Family has been divided over whether to clamp down on the business activities of minor members of the House of Windsor, ever since the indiscretions of the Countess of Wessex.

The fall-out of her highly-publicised comments to an undercover News of the World reporter forced her to resign as chairman of her public relations company, RJ-H.

Conflict

Prince Charles and the Princess Royal reportedly thought their younger brother Edward should devote his main energies to charity work, and that his wife should sever her public relations links.

But Prince Philip over-ruled them, insisting that Prince Edward and Sophie should be allowed to keep earning, to help pay for the 250,000 annual upkeep of their Surrey home, Bagshot Park.

He is opposed to major reform of the monarchy and is said to have decided to draw a line over the plans to end business links.

Prime Minister Tony Blair is known to favour a slimmed-down Royal Family and wants to ensure the government is not embarrassed by indiscreet comments from minor Royals, or unwise business dealings.

Asked about Friday's reports that the Duke of Edinburgh has won a battle against other Royals, Mr Blair's spokesman said Downing Street did not comment on relations with the Palace.

He said he was not aware of anything to support the story but added that the review of Royals' business interests was not one performed by Downing Street.

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