The Queen has been reported to be furious with Prime Minister Gordon Brown over plans for school pupils to swear an oath of allegiance. Buckingham Palace was not consulted about the plans.

Other critics say that an oath of allegiance is only suitable for republics - such as the United States and France - and will not be suitable for Britain, a country in which the overwhelming majority of people are royalists...

Queen furious with Gordon Brown after she was not consulted on plans for patriotic oath

16th March 2008
Daily Mail

Not consulted: Queen Elizabeth II's opinion on the proposed allegiance oath was not sought

Gordon Brown was plunged into an embarrassing row with the Queen last night over plans for pupils to swear a patriotic oath.

The Mail on Sunday has been told by senior Royal sources that the Queen was angered by last week's controversial Government-commissioned report, which recommended school leavers should pledge an oath of allegiance but not necessarily to the Monarch.

They made it clear that the Queen had nothing to do with the review on citizenship, carried out by former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith on the Prime Minister's orders.

When The Mail on Sunday asked Buckingham Palace about the situation, a spokesman said in a highly unusual on-the-record statement: "What we would like to say is that Buckingham Palace was not consulted with regard to the Goldsmith review."

The Palace's blunt retort caused consternation in Downing Street, where a spokeswoman said: "You don't have anything on the record, do you?", before calling back to say that it was a matter for Lord Goldsmith and the Ministry of Justice.

Royal insiders also accused Lord Goldsmith of falsely implying that his review had the full authority of the Royals.

Lord Goldsmith said that the Queen's former Private Secretary, Lord Janvrin, had contributed to his findings; in fact, the two men merely had a casual conversation about the Monarchy in general and the oath of allegiance was never mentioned.

The development marks the first serious clash between the Queen and Mr Brown since he replaced Tony Blair last June.

The Goldsmith report, which was commissioned by Mr Brown as part of his drive to promote "Britishness", recommended the American-style allegiance ceremonies as part of a raft of suggestions to increase national identity, including a new "national day", the reform of treason laws and council tax rebates for public volunteers.

Lord Goldsmith, who left the Government last summer, argued that asking school leavers to pledge an oath of allegiance at passing-out ceremonies would "promote a sense of shared belonging" and "better integrate newcomers to our society".

But he infuriated traditionalists by suggesting the historic oath to the Crown, as already taken by new British citizens, might be replaced by a pledge of commitment to the country or a statement on the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Conflict: The row over the patriotic oath is the first serious clash between Gordon Brown and the Queen

While Mr Brown praised Lord Goldsmith's "interesting review" and the "lively debate" it sparked, critics condemned the oath as being more appropriate for a republic, such as France or America, than a monarchy.

Palace sources were at pains to stress that although Lord Janvrin is named under a "list of individuals and organisations who have contributed to the review", he had not spoken to Lord Goldsmith on behalf of the Royals.

Lord Janvrin, who retired in September after 20 years as a close adviser to the Queen and is now a Permanent Lord-in-Waiting to the Royal Household, "was not consulted as a member of the Royal Household", the courtier said.

"He purely had conversations, or I think just a single conversation, not in relation to anything in particular, but just about the Monarchy in general.

"No particular items arose from those conversations."

The Prince of Wales was also excluded from the consultation.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman, responding on behalf of Lord Goldsmith, refused to say why the report had implied Royal approval by citing Lord Janvrin's input.

A spokesman said: "This is an independent review reporting to Government, it is not a Government report.

"It makes no recommendation on the inclusion of the oath in citizenship ceremonies for young people. It is an issue raised only for consideration.

"No decision on it would be taken without wide consultation, including with the Palace."

The report was Lord Goldsmith's first major political project since leaving Government after a turbulent spell as Tony Blair's Attorney General, which included the long-running controversy over the advice he gave on the legality of the war against Iraq.

His suggestions on citizenship came in for a barrage of criticism, led by nationalist politicians in Wales and Scotland, who called it a "Comic Cuts, Monty Pythonesque, Basil Fawlty approach to citizenship", and headteachers' leaders, who described it as "un-British".

For centuries, members of both Houses of Parliament have been required to take an oath, swearing to 'bear true allegiance' to the Queen and her successors.

Oaths are also sworn by all new recruits to the British Army and the Royal Air Force, and have become a central part of citizenship ceremonies.