One if by Land Rover, Two if by Sea

Land Rover, Land Rover send the British Monarchy on over.

On Saturday at the Royal Windsor Horse Show held on the grounds of Windsor Castle, royal photographer and Land Rover owner, James Whatling, was treated poorly by Land Rover, an official partner of the event.   A respected member of the British press, James Whatling has been working as a photographer for nearly two decades and was nominated for Royal Photographer of the Year at the Picture Editors Guild Awards in 2003.  Known for his wit and candor, James Whatling’s Twitter account @JWhatling is a favorite among those who follow the British Royal Family.  Even those who aren’t avid royal watchers and wouldn’t recognize James Whatling by name would have likely seen photos from his impressive portfolio.  So his treatment by Land Rover at the Royal Windsor Horse Show as detailed on his Twitter page is extremely disappointing.

JWLandRover

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Not cool, Land Rover.

While there are twenty-eight corporate sponsors for this year’s show. Land Rover is the only one that gets its logo next to that of the Royal Windsor Horse Show throughout their website.  That’s the kind of placement you only get if you shell out the big bucks.

RoyalWindsorHorseShow

Ironically the Royal Windsor Horse Show touts media presence at the event on its website as an incentive for companies to become sponsors.

RWHSSponsorshipAnd yet as a member of the media whose presence the Royal Windsor Horse Show uses to entice sponsors, James Whatling was banned from the lounge because of his occupation.

The Windsor Horse Show had Tweeted the admittance policy.

JustPresentKeys

No mention that the keys to gain admittance had to belong to owners of certain occupations.

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Land Rover has faced a number of discrimination accusations over the years.  On November 17, 2014, a current employee of Jaguar Land Rover working in Birmingham accused the company of “extreme racism” and noted promotions aren’t based on merit or qualification but because they are the “managers own friends and family.”   In an article on birminghampost.co.uk, the company was described as “an aggressive, bullying culture” by Chris Shot who won his case against them for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.  Shot also noted, “Land Rover puts on a big front about their being an equal opportunities employer but the reality is it’s all about whether your face fits or not.”

Discrimination accusations by customers  tend to be far less common than those made by employees which makes Whatling’s experience all the more surprising.  To quote Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

James Whatling noted that his experience at The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials  was an extremely positive one.

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So why such a difference in  treatment at the two events?  Could it have something to do with the Royal Family’s special relationship with Land Rover, the terms of which are unknown?

It’s been reported that members of the British Royal Family have a deal with Land Rover, getting their luxury vehicles for a small fraction of the cost in exchange for being unofficial brand ambassadors simply by being seen in their vehicles.  Media outlets questioned if Prince George being driven home from the hospital in a £140,000 Range Rover was part  of an agreement.  As one nbcnews.com article pointed out, “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s emergence from London’s St. Mary’s Hospital was captured by the world’s TV cameras with the Range Rover logo prominent as the royal tot was tucked into his car seat.”  A historic moment makes for impactful product placement.  Several months later, the Daily Mail ran a piece on Carole, Pippa and James Middleton being given luxury Range Rovers at a deeply discounted rate.  Does Land Rover really need Carole, Pippa and James spotted driving around in their vehicles to boost sales  or was it the result of a provision worked out by the Cambridges so the in-laws could benefit from their special deal with Land Rover?

In Kate’s recent Vogue UK appearance,  it was noted she drove herself to the location in her Land Rover Defender.   With Vogue indicating  Kate had selected everything from clothes to “the locations used as a backdrop”, a number of people wondered if Kate’s Land Rover visible in one of the shots was product placement, fulfilling some kind of contractual  obligation.

On Sunday, 90th birthday celebrations for the Queen continued at Windsor.  The evening featured 900 performing horses, musical performances and celebrity-narrated highlights from Her Majesty’s life.

Gordon Rayner had predicted a heavy Land Rover presence and he was right.

GordonRayner

And sure enough, a Land Rover appeared hauling a giant  birthday cake.

LandRoverCake

Land Rover seems to be using its ties to the British Royal Family to remind the world that despite being owned by India’s Tata Motors which purchased it from Ford in 2008, and with factories in various countries including India, China, and a new facility being built in Slovakia slated to be finished in 2018, it’s still a British brand.  In a Tweet on Monday, it stated, “Rain, mud, horses and royalty. Celebrating Britain at its best.”   It included  a photo of  the Queen appearing to emerge from a royal  Range Rover.

LandRoverBritish

The relationship between Land  Rover and the British Royal Family becomes even more curious with a quick glance at the automobile manufacturer’s Sponsorship page.  First listed is Land Rover’s support of Ben Ainslie’s bid to return the America’s Cup to Britain, the only cause in which Kate seems genuinely interested.  The next Land Rover sponsorship mention is of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.  As noted in an Express article written by Richard Palmer, “The Queen and her family have taken a close interest in the tournament. The 89-year-old monarch is patron of the RFU, while her grandsons, Princes William and Harry, are are vice-patrons of the Welsh Rugby Union and RFU respectively. Princess Anne is also patron of the Scottish Rugby Union.”  The fourth listed Land Rover corporate sponsorship is Invictus, the driving force behind which is Prince Harry.   The sixth is equestrian sponsorship which is basically everyone in the British Royal Family, minus Kate who is pretend-allergic to horses.

Corporate sponsorship is wonderful but Land Rover’s mirroring the sports-centered interests of members of the British Royal Family suggests there could be far more complex dealings between the British Royal Family and Land Rover than just steeply discounted luxury cars in exchange for the royals being seen in them.  Beyond Prince Harry’s Invictus Games which does tremendous work for wounded, injured or sick service personnel, the rest aren’t humanitarian endeavors.  No one at Land Rover has a soft spot for any of the many worthy causes to help those suffering?

With Land Rover acting as the corporate sponsor of the British Royal Family, what exactly is Land Rover getting for their financial support?  And what are members of the British Royal Family getting in return?  In the Cambridge’s Anti-Press Crusade, will Land Rover-sponsored events become increasingly more unwelcoming to the media under the influence of the royal family, even if it means losing customers?

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68 thoughts on “One if by Land Rover, Two if by Sea”

  1. I’m sure when Sophie had her PR company LR were one of her clients and of course they gave also sponsored Zara too.

  2. Land Rover looked on Mr. Whatling as being a lowly photographer who was trying to cadge something out of their hospitality suite. As an owner of a Land Rover they should have been kissing his feet and greeting him with open arms.

    I can understand brands wanting to be associated with the BRF. However, unless you want to only supply the BRF and their hanger-ons (yes, I’m talking about the Middletons) with your product I suggest you don’t antagonize those who actually lay out full price for your product.

    1. I would boycott all products that had made deals of any kind with the odious Middleton leeches. I agree, Lisa, this kind of backhander just antagonises the public; I know I’d be paying more simply to subsidise these greedy, pretentious wankers.

      1. Did you happen to catch a comment by Stevie in London on a DM article back in April? It read, “Fake smile from the fake girl from the fake wannabe family. I have a business that was asked to supply her brothers marshmallow company – he didn’t want to pay – I was meant to be honoured to deal with Boomff at my cost… no thanks.”

  3. I have always found it sickening how those most able to pay full price for any given luxury item are also those most likely to receive deep discounts or get comped completely. It’s just greed eating greed for breakfast, topped off with a swig of greed to tide them all over until greed time.

      1. If only I had some extra greed in my cupboard, but it looks like I’ll be going hungry tonight! Unfortunately the neighbors aren’t into giving their extra greed away, much less a cuppa’ sugah.

    1. So true, Snuggles. I once saw an interview with former Monkee Davy Jones where he said, “When you have everything, everyone wants to give you stuff.” (He went on to lament that when you’ve got nothing, no one wants to give you anything!) Really disgusting how the very wealthy are given these gifts and breaks, especially the BRF, whose actions SHOULD be above suspicion (yeah, right).

      1. Mmhmm, “nobody knows you when you’re down and out”. I should get really clobbered and go sing this one at the local karaoke bar, dedicating it to Katie of course!

    2. Summed it up perfectly, Snuggles. I know some high profile people who have never had to pay for a motor vehicle – they get given theirs in return for favours……. the rest of us scrimp and save and stress about our cars. It makes me soooo mad.
      But how disgusting that the Royal Family, who are already paid for by the taxpayers, keep on double-dipping.

    3. We live in such a celebrity-obsessed culture, companies want celebs being seen using their products. I doubt anyone who is mildly famous has ever paid for anything by Apple. The average Hollywood celeb picks up about $100,000 in freebies every year.
      http://www.vulture.com/2012/01/how-celebrities-get-almost-everything-for-free.html

      Not surprisingly, gift tents have become a thing in the UK because who doesn’t love free stuff?
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/freebies-unwrapped-the-celebrity-gifting-lounge-2159149.html

      1. I got excited when I found four free samples of porridge in my grocery order a couple of weeks ago. It’s all up from there.

  4. Wow, Lola. This is a fantastic investigative piece connecting the dots. I had no idea. My contempt for the BRF grows apace. It’s about time all their wheeling and dealing was uncovered and challenged. And the snootiness knows no bounds. Stuck up sticky beaks, indeed. Meanwhile, the plebs continue to tug their forelocks instead of getting out the torches and pitchforks.

    1. BTW, I find the constant and eternal extravagant celebration of the queen’s every breath at this point obscene.

      1. Enough with the birthday celebrations! It is an obscene spectacle, particularly in such government-mandated ‘austere’ times. Well, austere for everyone except those with a lot already. God knows why the UK people put up with it all; tugging the forelock must be the main subject taught at schools. I sometimes wonder if the BRF and their attendant bum lickers keep upping the ante to test the public’s tolerance.

      2. If I were the queen, that kind of coverage would be making me downright paranoid at this point — “Don’t you dare say I’m still breathing! Jinx!”.

  5. Somehow I remember Andrew and Sarah getting a good deal of heat over a magazine shoot where they accepted money. How was this worse than getting deeply discounted vehicles for the BRF and in-laws?

  6. I agree with the sentiments of the above posters as well as the tenor of your argument, Lola. I’m all for transparency. As recipients of public funding the BRF should be held to public account for all discounts on goods and services secured. Are they? Where’s the full disclosure? When their annual spending is made public are:
    1. Discounts received and their level made public?
    2. Any conditions relating to discount, such as the blatant product placement writen about above, fully disclosed?
    3. Those members of the BRF, their immediate royal and non-royal family members, and friends/associates who also receive discounted goods and services named?

    This is a meaty little piece of investigative journalism for anyone so inclined to follow it up further. I hope someone out there has the balls to follow up Lola’s shrewd observations.

    I have no idea why a family – independently wealthy as well as sucking on the public teat so voraciously – needs even more . The greedy are such a burden, aren’t they.

    1. The royal accounts have become more and more vague as time passes. For example, in 2013/2014 the Lames were criticised for spending millions in taxpayers’ money. In 2014/2015 they then decided to lump Harry with them for having spent over £4 mil. I doubt that more than 5% of that money was spent by Harry. While other RFs try to be more transparent, they’re choosing to be shady AF.

    2. The British Royal family doesn’t do transparency. No one even knows how much they cost taxpayers annually because they’ve got the blank check of security which probably runs in the $300 million range every year.

      As Herazeus noted a few comments down, “Charles and The Queen have successfully lobbied Parliament to exclude their finances and financial arrangements from the Freedom of Information act, and asking after other members of the family’s financial prompts a refusal on the grounds of refusal.”

      The Windsors love secrecy. No one knows what Queen Elizabeth’s personal wealth is, no one even knows the value of Queen Elizabeth’s privately owned jewelry collection because no one has ever been permitted to examine it. She’s paid personal income tax since 1993 but no one knows how much.

      They’ve got the system working pretty well for them. When the Queen Mum passed away, Queen Elizabeth II did not have to pay £20 in inheritance tax which she should have because the estate was not going from sovereign to sovereign (in which case there is no inheritance tax).

  7. Wonderful piece, Lola! Is Wonder Woman supposed to represent Waity? There certainly is a resemblance!

  8. Wow, do they pay for anything? W&K got a free apartment at KP upgraded by the tax payers (but the funds for decorating came from PC), Anmer Hall was given to them (and again, PC paid for the decorating), they get discounts on cars and sunglasses, anything else? Did they pay for the hamster?

  9. Do we even know that this area was open to the public? How do we know the guy wasn’t being presumptuous in thinking he was allowed in? Moreover the fact that he owns a Landrover seems to be incidental. He was there in his capacity as a photographer not as a guest of Landrover. I bank with Natwest who sponsor the England Cricket team. Can I therefore assume its my right to sit in the VIP box at Lords? Maybe one day you’ll see that royal photographers are every bit as entitled as you believe W&K to be. The difference of course being that the photogs choose their line of work…Oh and Jaguar IS a British company! It may be Indian owned but it is British based and does lots of manufacturing over here! Are Manchester United not an English team for having American owners? I would suggest the Royal Family want to champion a iconic British brand and that’s why they drive Landrovers. (Btw UK car manufacturing is booming atm if you didnt know….)

    1. I believe the VIP area allows access to known professional photographers like Mr. Whatling as a matter of course. That’s how we plebs get to see who comes to these things and, of course, what they wore. I don’t believe he felt access was to be granted because of his car but because of his professional credentials. The car ownership issue was purely ironic. As for entitlement, well that’s a funny issue. The press and the BRF have a far more symbiotic relationship than most of us realize, and Waity certainly used them when it suited her. She also chose her line of work. And I guess the BRF will continue to champion this iconic brand. Can’t wait for the Jaguar logos on robes of state and receiving blankets for newborn royals.

    2. I’d imagine that James Whatling and every other journalist covering the event would have been visibly identifiable from wearing official press accreditation at the event. If Land Rover had banned all press at a private function, well, I guess that is their choice though limits public exposure of their brand to those who might actually buy their product at full price – you know, the suckers who are paying a motza to subsidise Land Rover giving vehicles to the BRF.

    3. According to a Tweet sent out by the Royal Windsor Horse Show, to gain admittance, all you had to do was show a Land Rover key.

      I was ill when I wrote this post and added that specific Tweet later and addressed the poorly worded part about it being a British brand.

  10. So again, why was Ma Midds so adamant about bagging a prince, Freebies, Freebies, Freebies!!!!!!!!!! Even if you can afford it, why the hell pay for it I mean really?????

  11. Lola, I hope I did not offend by suggesting someone take up this story further. You have done a superb job revealing the links between sponsorship and kickbacks; it’s just that it deserves to be more widely read and discussed. That, and the fact that you may not have the time and resources to hand that a newspaper may have.

    1. Hi Kitty, don’t feel bad. it is a legitimate question. sadly one that will not be answered easily or any time soon. Charles and The Queen have successfully lobbied Parliament to exclude their finances and financial arrangements from the Freedom of Information act, and asking after other members of the family’s financial prompts a refusal on the grounds of refusal.

      The reason we know anything is because hilariously, the royal accountants aren’t big picture thinkers in terms of linking Royal information they initially make available to the public vs the ongoing Palace PR spin until after the inevitable public row/scandal. They obscure the offending information in any subsequent public reporting.

      Upthread, someone used the Cambridges spending as the perfect example of this ineptitude.

      1. Thanks Herazeus. That nugget re the Queen and Charles lobbying for, effectively, not having to account for their publicly-funded expenditure is breathtaking. How appalling that they were successful. What was their argument? I have no quarrel with their private assets being kept private though the waters are probably deliberately muddied there as well. That the amount of total public monies flowing to the BRF is so deliberately opaque leads me to conclude that the true level of subsidy would be unacceptable to their public benefactors.

        As employees of the state there should be some charter of transparency and unfudgable declarations in place. Every other beneficiary of the state is accountable – MPs, those on benefits, state institutions – to the state (public). Again, I am incredulous that one family due to claiming the moniker ‘royal’ is untouched by accountability.

    2. I wasn’t even mildly offended, Kitty. I’ve been sick in bed so I’m just playing catch-up now trying to answer some of the comments. I wish a journalist could explore this further but unfortunately I don’t think they would be able to access the necessary information.

  12. I wondered at the time about the photo of the Land Rover appearing in Kate’s Vogue pics. It seemed very deliberate but I wrote it off as a pretentious “ooh Ive got a LR aren’t I so ‘country'” etc. Now? Hmmm. Very interesting piece. My only niggle is Princess Anne and the SRU – she’s been attending Scotland’s matches for years (decades?) and rarely misses one if she’s in the UK. I don’t think it’s sponsorship that keeps her coming, nor is it the success of the team on the pitch (). It’s doing her ‘job’, which may include sponsors, but I think with her the job and duty come first. Hope this makes sense?

  13. Great piece Lola…. enjoyed that ..
    very interesting to learn whats going on
    with regard to Waity her supposed speechnwas onky a few words and again head bobbing down to paper ..she should know her stuff about the charity but thats too much to expect from a dolly brain like her .

  14. Also, she did a copy-and-paste of a previous speech. AGAIN! I would love it if Lola did an analysis of all her speeches and PSAs. Pretty please!

  15. Hi, I have been enjoying your blogs for quite a while but I’ve never commented. First of all lovely, well written blogs and very nice commentators, I recognize some names from another blog. Anyways, FINALLY someone exposes these business entanglements. I commented a few weeks ago that it is quite obvious that they also seem to have a sponsoring deal with RayBan. The younger Windsors and the Middleton family started wearing Ray Bans a couple of years ago. Before that Kate was quite partial to other designer sunglasses, just as William. It’s also well known that the Middletons got extremely generous deals on their Range Rovers a few years ago. The eminence grise seems to be Peter Philips, he makes the deals for Zara and I assume for the rest of the family.

    1. Thank you so much and welcome Chanelchen! Ray-Ban gives away a lot of sunglasses to celebrities, they’re always showing up in Hollywood swag bags so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Middletons and Windsors were well-stocked with freebies.

  16. there is also a deal with audi – Harry and the Cambridges drive audi’s and it was discussed in the DM that they had gotten discounts. Right after Harry got his audi there was a big article in the DM featuring Harry and the Audi.

    The Queen has also been given Bentleys outright as Jubilee gifts.

    1. The British Royal Family does have a few Audis but Land Rover seems to be favored these days. Interestingly, Audi is known to make some ridiculously generous deals when it comes to getting high profile individuals seen driving their vehicles so it makes me wonder what Land Rover brought to the table to curry favor.

  17. Pardon the second post – but this is why I wonder if Kate is not given deep discounts on the designer stuff she wears. Lately she has been showing up in seriously expensive clothes – in the 5-6,000 pound range. I do doubt that Charles is willingly dropping that kind of money on things she wears to day events and only once.

    1. Of course she gets discounts. She probably pays next to nothing for these frocks The designers get maximum exposure when she wears their clothes, they will charge the bare minimum. And I’m sure these discounts are given to their staff as well. And it’s not only clothes, household items as well. As much as 80% for the RF and their staff.

    2. Considering how much Kate shops I’d imagine she buys it online or herself with her credit card given to her by Charles, so I’d imagine he does pay full price for things. She has no concept. (I think Charles has more of a concept of money than Kate does which is sad!)

      1. I’ve read that Natasha places Kate’s online orders in her name so companies don’t know the items are for Kate. I’m pretty sure other staffer names are used, too, to maintain sartorial secrecy.

        Clothing is collected from designers and if Kate eventually winds up wearing the pieces, she pays for them. Unfortunately for the designers, Kate waits to wear clothing because she resents people Copy-Kating her so it can be a while until the clothing is paid for. Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2895631/Kate-s-great-wardrobe-hoarder-DOES-wait-long-sport-new-outfit.html

        Kate’s been known to frequent designer outlets but as I mused back in August 2014, that probably has more to do with her resenting people buying clothing she wears than searching for bargains:
        http://lovelolaheart.com/?p=1703

        Kate’s been doing a lot more bespoke designer pieces lately. They are usually just modified runway designs. Normally these custom creations would be more expensive than the original design but it’s possible Kate is getting a discount there.

        1. What a silly tit she is. Isn’t it incredibly inconsiderate to the designer/ retailer to remove their stock indefinitely, making it unavailable to be sold to others? And Kate could hang on to unpaid for items for… years?

          It’s odd to be ‘annoyed’ that others might also buy the same off-the-rack clothes. If Kate doesn’t want any one ‘copying’ her, then why not have couture items designed ? At least they’d fit.

        2. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to British brands and business if she wore them right away?

        3. Here’s my issue with Kate’s paranoia about wearing things years later so no one else can:

          If she’s supposed to be a shining example of British designers and by wearing one of their designs she sparks a spending frenzy for those who admire the clothing, wouldn’t it be smart of her to actually wear something coming from the designers next season (before it’s actually available to the public)? They don’t throw these things together two days before they are released, she would be the first to wear it and she would actually help the designer and economy by spurring the sales of the design.

          Instead we get that the item has sold out (duh, it’s two seasons/years old) or they do another release. Actual celebrities manage to get their hands on designs before they are released to the general population, I’m sure Kate’s people could do it too with the eager cooperation of the designer.

          But that would require using brain cells and common sense. Never mind, we all know that’s never going to happen.

  18. They do get huge discounts. Prince Charles’ former Highgrove housekeeper wrote a book. I bought it because it described very candidly the interaction between Charles and Diana. But she always stated that not only the Royals get discounts of up to 80% from all major suppliers. The staff get them as well. Kate’s PA’s almost wear identical clothes to her, they won’t be able to buy that from the small salary they get from the RH. Living in London probably takes all the salary up. The Royals also get freebies, and accept them, contrary to public belief. In fact they get sa LOT. The PRince and Princess of Wales got so many that most of them were burnt several times a year. The housekeeper said that she could cry just thinking about it. Gorgeous designer frocks, never worn, were burnt. Along with furniture and presents the Prince and Princess didn’t want. SOmetimes select employees were allowed to pick some things, but most of the time everything went into an incinerator. Royals are quite frugal, they like to keep their money together and would never dream of buying things for a regular price. Royal Warrants are great advertising.

      1. Because it would have special value if people knew it was from the Royal Family. Look at the dresses worn by Princess Diana, they are so expensive because they were worn by her. Other members of the Royal Family don’t have the allure she had, but collectors still would go bonkers, and therefore they burn these items.

        1. That’s a very short-sighted and typically stupid and uncreative approach. If the Royal Family is as frugal (code for: tight with money for everyone but themselves) as reported, it is also mean spirited. It implies that others are not deserving of what would no doubt be expensive items: we don’t want ’em but you’re not getting your mitts on them either.

          Why not have these items discreetly (ie anonymously) donated to charities? I’m thinking of furniture, blankets, baby clothes etc? Any number of items could surely find their way to someone who could use them – whether a charity could re-use furniture for their offices or pass on to clients? Selling Diana’s clothes could raise money for charity… Meanwhile, it should give people pause for thought about sending gifts to the BRF. Why bother if it’s going to end up on the bonfire?

          I’m with Lola who opined a while ago that when the BRF visits anywhere it is they who should bring the gifts, not the other way around. Only fair, as their presence costs those being visited buckets of cash in terms of security costs they are forced to cover.

          1. You are absolutely right. Diana DID donate lots of her clothes. She went out in the middle of the night and put bags full of clothes in front of Oxfam and other charity shops. I think Prince Charles had a very trusted worker at Highgrove who burnt the things, because he didn’t want itms turn up in some antique or furniture shops. I also think that flowers are usually donated to hospitals and hospices. As are toys that they get on walkabouts, so some things get donated. The more valuable things however don’t.

            1. Such a horrible waste! I am sure items could have been re-gifted to someone who could be trusted not to sell them. Or stored for future generations either for their use or for a museum exhibition. Even if re-gifted items were sold by heirs, it would most likely be years later when most, if not all, of the principal players had passed away.

    1. It’s fairly easy to get around the no freebies rule by having a third party act as the go-between. For instance, the Merci Maman necklace Kate wore after Prince George’s birth was given to Pippa to give to Kate. Boutique owner Beatrice de Montille said: “After Prince George was born, we made this gold chain especially for the Duchess and sent it to Pippa to give to her sister as a gift, and she passed it on.” Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2565622/How-charming-Kates-token-love-two-Princes-89-necklace-Pippa.html

      It’s rumored Prince Andrew is the one who takes advantage of the third party loop-hole the most, although that’s just a rumor. Not sure if it’s true but it certainly does sound like him.

      This article gives a good rundown why the gift policy had to be addressed and touches on how items were sold off, burnt, etc.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2847283.stm

      The Queen was not amused when she discovered items gifted to members of her family were making their way onto eBay.

      Now “Official gifts are not considered the royals’ personal property and eventually become part of the Royal Collection, held in trust by the Queen for her successors and the nation. They are stored in either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House.” Source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/6860049/The-crazy-gifts-given-to-our-royals.html

      Of course, what is supposed to happen and what does happen are two different things. The Queen actually donates clothing that does not have any historical value. The labels indicating they are hers are removed.

      In 2006, when Lord Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto auctioned off jewelry and objets belonging to Princess Margaret to cover the inheritance tax, the Queen was said to be displeased with the auction and insisted that gifts that had been given to their mother in an official capacity, 47 in total, should be donated to charity, which they were. Because of its historical significance, Lord Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto gave Her Majesty the Lotus Flower tiara instead of selling it which was thought to be a peace offering (ironically, the Queen always thought that tiara was hideous).

      1. If the BRF is held to be the gold standard of behaviour we should all admire and aspire to, they collectively need to behave and seen to behave as such.

        It’s hardly rocket science to set up and follow procedures to record and manage all gifts. And it’s only poor ethical standards and greed that sees those procedures selectively followed. The Queen isn’t hard enough on her family if/when they transgress them.

        That the designer of the necklace called Kate “easily the most inspirational woman of our generation” indicates the doolally nature of some gift givers.

      2. Just for good measure. ‘ The Housekeeper’s Diary:Charles and Diane before the breakup’ by Wendy Berry is the book that I quoted from. It’s quite possible that procedures have been revised and updated, then again who knows. It’s safe to assume that the RF and their staff still get huge discounts and even though they might not have the storage problems of mere mortals, I’m not sure they are really able and willing to store all the gifts they receive. The Queen, admirable as she is, doesn’t really like to interfere with the life of the rest of family, one simply does what one likes. Not always the wisest choice as the latest scandal involving Prince Andrew has just shown. She is also quite smart when it comes to avoiding scrutiny. Travelling expenses where simply raised. All travel expenses under 10.000 Pounds are simply not listed anymore. Until a few years they listed all expenses and that got some members of the RF in hot water. Prince Andrew took a short helicopter ride to ‘open’ or ‘dedicate’ a wooden bridge. This job took less than 30 seconds and I think he was only there for 5 min in total. Taking a car or the train would have been more cost effective and wouldn’t have taken him hours, since it was quite close to his home in Windsor. Needless to say the helicopter ride was more expensive than the bridge. A bridge that was paid for by donations and which was built by a charity. So the pledge to make the Firm more cost effective and be more transparent and accountable was just a pledge to pacify the critics. They basically did the exact opposite. Without computers they were able to list all expenses, now they claim it would be too tedious and difficult to list expenses under a certain amount.

        1. Well, when anyone starts to wriggle out of full financial accountability I see red flags. When public money is involved, there is no excuse.
          As for the Queen not interfering in her family’s lives, well, who likes a meddler, BUT, again, this family sets itself apart from every other and accountability applies.
          Andrew… geez, what a complete tosser. He doesn’t learn, and clearly doesn’t have to as someone will always cover for him. Very undeserving man. No wonder the UK public abhors him.

  19. What a waist, I thought stuff was burnt when Chuck and Di split but I didn’t know about the other stuff!!! Goodness!!!

  20. When I read the title of the post, I thought it was something to do with Kate’s red coat and the need for The British People to start a revolution. When will the forelock tugging and blind devotion end? What will it take for people to finally stand up for themselves?

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