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The BBC's Jennie Bond
"MP's who signed a motion calling for royals to register their interests call it a whitewash"
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Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the Queen
"The Monarchy... are going out and earning a living, which is what everybody has been clamouring for"
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Sunday, 8 July, 2001, 00:42 GMT 01:42 UK
Working royal guidelines unveiled
Earl and Countess of Wessex
The Earl and Countess of Wessex can continue working
Buckingham Palace has unveiled guidelines aimed at ensuring royals do not exploit their status to profit in business.

Royals, including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, can continue professional careers but separately from official royal engagements and with stricter safeguards.

And their businesses must ensure employees do not exploit royal connections.

But the guidelines fall short of the solution originally favoured by Prince Charles, who thought royals who chose a business career should give up royal duties completely.

Murray Harkin
Murray Harkin: Boasted of royal connections

In future members of the royal family will have to consult the Lord Chamberlain before they take on new business activities.

They will have to turn down official engagements if it is not possible to keep them entirely separate from their business.

The inquiry was set up after indiscreet remarks made by the Countess of Wessex were secretly taped.

Boasted of connections

Murray Harkin, the Countess' then-partner in her public relations firm, boasted of her connections to a News of the World reporter disguised as a sheikh.

The Countess was forced to resign as chairman of the her London-based company, RJ-H.

At the time, the Queen backed Sophie's right to a business career.

Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son and the first child of a sovereign to pursue their own career, also faced criticism for allegedly using taxpayer-funded trips abroad to drum up contracts for his film production company, Ardent.

Sever working ties

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 the Queen's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, reportedly 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.

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

The Palace said in a statement that members of the family would always be open to accusations of exploiting their status and it would never be possible to prevent entrapment, subterfuge, innuendo or unfair allegations.

But it said they must move forward and accept the challenge for the monarchy in the 21st century.

Those active in business were helping to generate economic activity, showing skill and enterprise and supporting themselves financially, as well as lightening the burden on the Queen and doing charity work, the statement said.

The inquiry was led by the head of the Royal Household, the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Luce, and assisted by the Queen's Private Secretary, Sir Robin Janvrin, and the Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Michael Peat.

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