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THE list of changes being considered by the Royal Family's newly-revealed `cabinet' would revolutionise the monarchy.

Certainly they would strip away much of the pomp surrounding the institution and remodel it to resemble more closely the `bicycling' monarchies of Europe.

Constitutional expert Dr David Starkey, lecturer in history at the London School of Economics, said the changes would amount to `the biggest privatisation of them all'.

If, for instance, the royals did decide to rely on income from the Crown Estates, they would put themselves in the position of stately home tourist attractions, such as Alton Towers and Longleat, and would be forced to `flog themselves' to the public to ensure an adequate income, he said.

On one point, however, there can be no doubt. The royal elite who meet twice a year to discuss `strategic issues' have been - and are - of key importance in deciding the direction and policy of the monarchy.

Buckingham Palace said yesterday: `It is a process of discussion of major issues, involving the Government as necessary.

`When they meet, they discuss programme priorities and policy issues covering a wide range of policy areas.

`When decisions are made, they are announced, as they were in 1992, 1993 and 1994. As to the actual content of what is being discussed now, we are not going into any detail.'

This means the strategy group was at the heart of the decision to pay income tax and cut the Civil List, to relieve the taxpayer of the cost of rebuilding Windsor Castle after the 1992 fire and to open Buckingham Palace and the Royal Collection to the public.

In 1994 the Royal Family gave up future use of aircraft of the Queen's Flight for private purposes and agreed to the retirement of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

All these moves, which followed the Queen's 1992 `annus horribilis', were key political decisions widely acknowledged to have saved the Royal Family from even worse criticism than it has in fact had to endure.

The agenda for the royal cabinet revealed yesterday is involved with long-term policy rather than imminent crises.

It does not directly deal with the most pressing constitutional problem facing the monarchy - how to deal with a possible remarriage of Prince Charles.

Most analysts believe the list of issues covers the interests of the Prince, and that little of it will take effect while the Queen remains on the throne.

Here the Daily Mail analyses the proposed changes, the impact they would have and, crucially, what each of them would mean for Charles.


NOW: The Civil List was reformed four years ago, when the Queen cut eight royals off the list and undertook to pay their expenses. They were the Duke of York (who received [pounds sterling]249,000 a year), Prince Edward ([pounds sterling]96,000), the Princess Royal ([pounds sterling]228,000), Princess Margaret ([pounds sterling]219,000), Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester ([pounds sterling]87,000), and the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra (combined total for the three [pounds sterling]630,000).

Annual Civil List payments total [pounds sterling]8.9million. The Queen receives [pounds sterling]7.9million, the Queen Mother [pounds sterling]640,000 and Prince Philip [pounds sterling]360,000. Total cost of maintaining the Royal Family is [pounds sterling]55million a year.

PRESSURE FOR CHANGE: In past decades complaints over the Civil List were expressed in public only by mavericks such as anti-royal Labour MP Willie Hamilton. The hurricane of criticism of the monarchy now blowing means polls show more than half of Labour MPs are republican.

WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN: The Civil List may be scrapped and income from the Crown Estates - surrendered in 1760 by George III when the List was introduced - returned to the monarch. …