I’m not urging that Royal Collection should be nationalised, there is no need since it already is. My issue is that for a nationalised collection, the public is denied any access to chunks of it. Not because it is in storage but because it is hanging on the walls of private (we have no access) residences. My issue is, is the overwhelming decision making in our best interests or in one persons. I’m not one of those people who believe that the land was stolen from us normals by wicked aristocrats who don’t deserve to live in big houses. I understand that landownership has evolved from providing service to absolute land ownership for the reasons it has. I’m not talking here just about can I see everything. It’s about who owns what and who determines that. Especially when most countries such as Spain or Sweden have it all sorted so relatively easily.
In Britain there are tax exception schemes whereby you can defer inheritance tax if you give access to items for X days per year. If items are not available, which in most museums it is, even in the stacks, then it should be treated like taxable privately owned property. Or there should be an attitude change and greater openness, and at least the acceptance that the objects are state property and not private and should not be decorating dining rooms in these houses. By all means hang paintings in public rooms at Buckingham Palace, even only occasionally seen. By all means hang precious painting in guest apartments at royal palaces used to house visiting heads of state as our guests. By all means have state banquets using the Grand Service, Sevres porcelain from Louis XV or Meissen from Augustus The Strong. My issue is the attitude to state owned property denied to the state. As I stated, the palace changes it’s definition of private versus state whenever it is questioned, in its own interest. No Royal family should be allowed to determine the rules it lives by, King Juan Carlos, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and King Albert have all discovered that when you try, you are the one who gets hurst the most.
I agree that it would be wrong to deprive The Queen of privately owned property, but who makes the decision as to what is privately owned. I would argue it should most definitely not be her. Her inheritance of every single item she inherited from her father, her mother and her grand mother had tax implications so I do not agree it is as clear in British law as you believe. If we look at the fall of Charles I, Louis XVI, Napoleon I, Louis Philippe, Napoleon III, Nicholas II, Wilhelm II, Carl I, Manuel II, Alfonso XIII, Constantine II and Reza Shah Pahlavi there was a clear acceptance of private vs public that benefited the nation more than the deposed monarch. Britain is a constitutional monarchy but its complex nature seems to be closer to Thailand in our interpretation. The Duke of Edinburgh has stated that the Queen could sell items from the RC if she so wished. The assumption that she wouldn’t because it’s bad might not apply to King James X. The law is not clear on this and regularly contradictions are made eg The Queen wouldn’t sell because it’s held by her in trust. It is a legal grey area possibly deliberately so, meaning that no view can be held as being correct all the time.
Who owns the Landseers at Balmoral. The RC website says “The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.” If any object is prioritised as being needed in a private residence over being available to the public this mission statement is misleading. It doesn’t actually mention domestic use as one of its responsibilities.
You state that the Royal Collection is not behaving out of the ordinary based on the evidence produced and yet clearly most museums do not lend state owned possessions for personal long term use, nor do they abnegate control to the loanee.
You state that I propose to nationalise the RC and that you don’t know what evidence I have. This is your point not mine, therefore I do not require any.
The jewellery is complex because of the issue of how it entered the collection and why. A wedding gift from a friend sounds fine but if the giver is the King of a despotic regime who has never actually met the bride then ownership should be questioned. That would be gain because of the royal position given to her by the nation and its people. For the marriage of The Prince and Princess of Wales this was recognised in that several inside accounts say that gifts from organisations and other more formal presentations were housed at Kensington Palace whilst gifts from people known to them went to Highgrove. The fact that “royal sources” claimed that a pair of earrings worn by the Duchess of Sussex were loaned from a jeweller rather than a gift from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is also suggestive that the RF regard the source of gifts problematic.
The duchy of Lancaster is usually recognised as being to provide income independent of the government for the sovereign. It is used to pay for things needed that cannot come from the Sovereign Grant such as clothing or for Balmoral or Sandringham, but it is certainly reasonably to ask if it is actually private. Most European royal nations would not tolerate such incredible generosity or such an unclear overlap of public and private. In Britain we do not separate a royal personage, they are always royal and the staff serve the person not the rank, according to the Luxembourgish report this is most definitely not true elsewhere.
I agree about the government art collection except it is not hanging in a bedroom, it’s in a room used for entertaining the French Foreign Minister. It should be more available but it’s not being enjoyed privately. I also agree partially that what I say has little evidential basis since it is opinion, but I have also made points that are evidential.
Could I end by saying that I am a monarchist, though not necessarily a royalist. I also strongly believe that one of the most damaging things for a monarchy is a deferential, servile public. I think The Queen has been a great head of state but how often do talking heads say that she could have been a professional car mechanic/comedian/mimic/dog trainer/horse trainer because she was quite good at it. It makes them look silly when you talk about them like they are children. For a monarchy to survive it needs to know where it fits and what it’s responsibilities are, including financial. We often hear how important the Queen is and how much influence she has with her advisory role with the government and how she would conversely never interfere, except of course when she has, over legislation that would affect her estate at balmoral or when there was legislation about tax when Churchill pushed for tax exception so generous that the RF had to lie years later and say it’s always been like. Remember when the Grand Duke of Luxembourg had to have his sovereign powers reduced because he ignored the will of the majority of his people and refused to sign a bill legalising abortion. The Queen has also refused to sign a bill. Knowing where everyone stands is good for everyone including them
I disagree with you, which is very different from my views being “detached from reality”. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jan/14/secret-papers-royals-veto-bills https://plymouth.academia.edu/JohnKirkhope
(he’s a bit down the rabbit hole but brings up interestingly anecdotal points about the shifting of responsibility)