Know the facts

The monarchy gives politicians enormous power

It's often claimed that the monarchy somehow keeps power away from politicians, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Our monarchical system means politicians, and particularly the Prime Minister, have much more power than they would in a republic.

Why? Because Britain hasn't fully made the transition from absolute monarchy to a democracy yet, so we're left with a kind of halfway house.

Prince Charles routinely lobbies government ministers

Prince Charles has fostered an image of a public-spirited campaigner, working to raise awareness of a range of social and environmental issues.

What he has been less keen to reveal is the extent to which he abuses his position by seeking to influence government ministers – a direct breach of the constitutional boundaries on which our current system of politics relies.

The Queen and Prince Charles can veto bills that affect their interests

Before parliament can debate a bill that's likely to affect the “hereditary revenues, personal property or other interests” of either the Queen or Prince Charles (in his role as Duke of Cornwall), their explicit permission must be obtained.

Whitehall papers show that overall at least 39 bills have been subject to this process, known as "Queen's consent" or "Prince's consent". We don't know how many bills have been amended or vetoed altogether before reaching Parliament.

The monarchy is exempt from freedom of information laws

The monarchy is the only public body to enjoy a total exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. That means that members of the royal family - unlike politicians and civil servants - can carry out their roles in almost total secrecy.

Council tax payers foot the bill for royal visits

One of the many hidden costs of the monarchy is incurred by council tax payers when royals visit their town.

Local people are regularly forced to pay for a range of costs including staff planning time, policing, road closures, renovation, cleaning, food and drink, photography, floral decorations and flags.

The total cost of the monarchy is more than £200m every year

That's more than five times the official cost, which excludes all kinds of hidden expenditure such as security.

Find out more about how the monarchy is funded