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Is The Queen a prisoner?

I am an imaginative soul, probably 'too imaginative' in the negative sense of that phrase.

Several years ago, Paul Burrell, butler to the late Princess of Wales, was rescued by The Queen from a trial in which he was accused of stealing items from the Princess.

Burrell told the press that during an earlier conversation with The Queen she had advised him that there are “powers at work in this country which we have no knowledge about".

The media cast doubts on Burrell's truthfulness and called the remark fantastical.

Is it?

And if it is not, should we wonder whether The Queen is a prisoner of “powers at work in this country which we have no knowledge about", powers that she scarcely knows?

What would those powers be, or more usefully, what would they be doing? It seems to me that one thing they would certainly have done is to persuade her that she has no powers, that she must give Her Royal Assent to whatever they demand.

This is not in our estimation an accurate or truthful description of the balance of powers constitutionally held by the Sovereign, who has sworn an oath to the people to defend their laws and customs. The beautiful and frightening details in case you are interested are here.

That The Queen may mistakenly believe she has no choice but to give Her Royal Assent would explain a great deal. See David’s post below.