By Dr George Venturini
On 5 August 1995 The New York Times published an article by Keith Bradsher, in which he wrote: “In a small Swiss city sits an international organisation so obscure and secretive … Control of the institution, the Bank for International Settlements, lies with some of the world’s most powerful and least visible men: the heads of thirty-two central banks, officials able to shift billions of dollars at the stroke of a pen.”
On 28 June 1998 The Washington Post published an article about the Bank for International Settlements titled: “At Secret Meetings in Switzerland, 13 people shape the world’s economy”, which described these individuals as “this economic cabal…this secretive group … the financial barons who control the world’s supply of money.”
Quigley commented: “Each Central bank sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.”
Another book, Secret records revealed, by Dr. Dennis Lawrence Cuddy complements the story.
This book would almost be better titled, sub-titled maybe, ‘Quotes about conspiracy theories from people in high places.’ It is an excellent reference book for anyone wanting to support a claim for a ‘shadowy cabal’, as it quotes the very men who and the organisation which are implicated, saying just as much. An example may suffice:
“On [15 December 1922] the Council on Foreign Relations’ Journal, Foreign Affairs, published an article…in which it was said that:
“Obviously there is going to be no peace or prosperity for mankind as long as [the earth] remains divided into 50 or 60 independent states … until some kind of international system is created which will put an end to the diplomatic struggles …”
The book goes to show that whether one thinks that there is a conspiracy under foot or not is really irrelevant, given the fact that the people who have all the power do believe in ‘conspiracy theories’. I highly recommend this book. Cuddy focuses on Cecil Rhodes who in 1890 famously said that he would start a movement which would in one hundred years bring in a world government in which there would be no war and only one language. One hundred years later on 11 September 1991, President Bush-Senior announced before the United States Congress the arrival of the ‘New World Order’. Since early this century Rhodes Scholars have been involved with the C.F.R, United Nations, International Monetary Fund, international banking, Congress, and federal administrations. Dr. Cuddy reveals the source of the conspiracy which has been dedicated to erasing nationalism and replacing it with a world government. (D.L. Cuddy, Secret Records Revealed: The Men, the Money, and the Methods Behind the New World Order, Hearthstone Publisher, Plantsville, Connecticut 1999).
The authors of War of the Windsors: A Century of Unconstitutional Monarchy commented: “Thanks to the legal privileges she enjoys – such being able to hide her investments behind the screen of the Bank of England Nominees – the Queen’s personal wealth is literally incalculable. There is no information available to enable it to be calculated with certainty, although a recent analysis by the Independent estimated Elizabeth II’s personal fortune to be around £175 million [in 2002]. Of course, the question can fairly be asked why her subjects need to know about her private means, which are quite separate from the government funds intended to pay for her expenses as Head of State. But the distinction is not always clear: for example, although the estates at Balmoral and Sandringham – acquired in Victoria’s reign – are said to be the Queen’s private property, there is evidence that Victoria and Albert acquired them at least partly with money diverted from the Civil List, in which case surely the state has a claim on them? And when these houses are occupied they are paid for by the taxpayer, on the grounds that wherever the Queen is she is always the Head of State. What of the Royal Collection – the works of art that according to one estimate are worth around £7 billion [in 2002], and which contain three times as many paintings as the National Gallery? In theory the Queen holds all these ‘in trust’ for the nation; in practice she alone possesses them, while they remain largely unseen by the rest of us (at any one time, less than a half of a per cent of the collection is on public display). There is also the very vexed question of the ‘grace and favour’ properties, paid for the state.” (L. Picknett, C. Prince, S. Prior, War of the Windsors: A Century of Unconstitutional Monarchy, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2002).
And what of the Crown Estate?
This is one of the largest property owners in the United Kingdom, producing £211 million for the Treasury in the financial year 2007-2008, and with holdings of £7.3 billion in 2011. (‘About Us’, Crown Estate, 6 July 2011).
The Crown Estate is not the private property of the Queen. It cannot be sold or owned by the Sovereign in a private capacity, nor do any revenues, or debts, from the estate accrue to her. Instead the Crown Estate is owned by the Crown, a corporation representing the legal embodiment of the State -a most certainly difficult concept and quite removed from understanding by the ordinary subject. It is held in trust and governed by Act of Parliament, to which it makes an annual report. Revenue from the Crown Estate is thought to be due to double in real terms between 2010 and 2020 with additional lease revenues deriving from the development of offshore wind farms within Britain’s Renewable Energy Zone, the rights of which were granted to the Crown Estate by the Energy Act 2004.
A number of State possessions are held in trust by the Sovereign. Among them is the Royal Collection, defined as ‘the art collection of the British royal family’. Humm.
It is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, containing over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, about 150,000 old master prints, historical photographs, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, books, gold and silver plate, arms and armour, jewellery and other works of art. The collection includes the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London – including the crown, orb and sceptre.
It is physically dispersed between thirteen Royal residences and former residences across Britain. Although the collection belongs to the sovereign, it is not the personal property of Elizabeth II as a private individual. Instead the collection is held in trust by the Queen for her successors and the nation. (‘Royal Special: Sovereign wealth’, The Independent, 31 May 2002).
The Treasury refers to these assets as “vested in the sovereign and cannot be alienated.” Income is generated by the collection from public admissions and other sources. This income is received by the Royal Collection Trust, the collection’s management charity, and not by the Queen.
In addition, the occupied royal palaces in the United Kingdom such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are held in trust by the sovereign. The Royal Household is expected to use the Sovereign Grant to maintain the palaces. In May 2009 the Queen requested an extra £4 million annually from the government to carry out a backlog of repairs to Buckingham Palace. In 2010 the Royal Household requested an additional grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport but the grant was refused on the basis that the scheme was “aimed at schools, hospitals, councils and housing associations for heating programmes which benefit low-income families.” Over a third of the Royal estate was in disrepair by 2012-13 according to a report by the Public Accounts Committee. The cost of restoration was estimated to be £50 million, but the Reserve Fund was at a historic low of £1m. (R. Younger, ‘Royal Estate Overspend Leaves £50m Repair Bill’, Sky News, 28 January 2014).
The Queen is also responsible for using the Sovereign Grant to pay the wages of 431 of the approximately 1,200 Royal Household staff, amounting to £18.2 million in 2014-15. In 2013 The Guardian reported that Buckingham Palace was using zero-hour contract for its summer staff, and in 2015 it was reported that at least four senior officials had been made redundant to reduce costs. (S. Rozina, ‘Buckingham Palace ‘axes at least four’ of the Queen’s senior officials’, The Telegraph, 23 May 2015).
No serious estimate can be made of Queen Elizabeth II’s wealth.
It all began with ‘mad king’ George III, 1769-1815, who – incidentally – became the owner of Australia. No one seems to care. He was not quite as mad when he exchanged some of the Crown Lands with Parliament for extravagant annual payments, of taxpayer money, to fund the ‘Royal Family’ and its palace-pampered-lifestyle of offensive luxury. These annual payments are now called The Sovereign Grant. The royals annual Civil List became an endless supply of money-for-nothing to be used for warmongering-for-profit and Empire money-grubbing-speculation. By 1936 when the Queen’s grandfather, George V, died the royals private – and offshore kept – fortune was estimated at one billion pound Sterling.
It was with George III that the British monarch became the ultimate insider-trader.
A small part of the present Queen’s massive disposable wealth is the tens of billions amassed tax free between her Coronation in 1953 until the public demanded she pay tax in 1992. And for that also 1992 was branded as her annus horribilis.
1992 was also horribilis because it was the year of the Windsor Castle fire. Widespread public outrage erupted when the taxpayers were arbitrarily told they would have to pay approximately £30 million for the fire!
The outcome was a “memorandum of understanding” that the Queen would pay some taxes – at her pleasure, of course. Meaning that the Queen can ignore this memorandum any time she pleases. In 2002 it pleased the Queen to refuse to pay tax on the known £70 million the Queen Mother left to her. Prior to her death the Queen Mother was always said to be broke. Yet it transpired that eight years before she died she had placed £140 million into Swiss Trusts for her grandchildren. British monarchs have illegally avoided taxes and illegally accumulated untold investment wealth in a countless number of countries in addition to the countries of the Commonwealth, the intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states which are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
There the investments are defended with every possible means. And that includes Orders in Council which are left to ‘the care’ of compliant subjects. The monarch and the Privy Council got together in the dark and bloody violent days of the Norman kings. Each man appointed to the Privy Council had legal and/or local knowledge the monarch could call upon. Down the centuries hardly anything has changed. Advised by her hand-picked Privy Council the Queen signs-off the day-to-day business of running Britain and the Commonwealth through Orders in Council. All powerful Orders in Council control acts of parliament covering every aspect of life, including crime, immigration control and – above all -banking regulations in the dependent territories: for instance, the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the British Indian Ocean Territory et cetera.
Was that the reason why Kerr desperately wanted to become a Privy Counsellor? And what was such disguised concupiscence, such desire to serve? The still unavailable correspondence could provide the answer.
To establish for certain the Queen’s wealth is almost impossible. She could very well be the richest woman in the world and near enough the most powerful. The combination of a great imperial style, the support of the high protestant hierarchy with even higher and mysterious practice and display of form, the most subservient political structure and system, a still very powerful financial centre – and all of this in that one square mile which is Westminster – and all that surrounded by the most antiquated, arcane and secret process, combines into a pastiche of myth and truth from which it is most difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, and from the fable, which is the substance of a monarchy. Conspiracy theories, suggestive and suggested in the circumstances, do not help to reach a careful analysis. All this makes it easy to understand how highly suppositional certain positions may be, and how attributions may suffer from the secretiveness in which a monarchy like the British thrives. Lacunae and apparent leaps of logic do not help providing real evidence. And often one encounters only nuggets of fact woven into the story by way of deduction, often by very questionable substance and yet deserving consideration.
All this premised most of what follows seems to withstand critical examination.
The Queen’s great grandfather, King Edward VII – Queen Victoria’s heir better known as Dirty Bertie – probably inherited but most certainly reinforced the ‘Royal Family’ love of money, which is in their case money-for-nothing. One of Edward VII’s advisers was the German-born banker Moritz Freiherr von Hirsch auf Gereuth. When Hirsch died in 1896 his position as leading adviser passed on to German-born and Prussian-educated Sir Ernest Joseph Cassel, whose daughter and heiress, Edwina, married Lord Louis Mountbatten – actually Battenberg – who would become a chief influence on Prince Philip first and then on Prince Charles.
Other bankers, such as the Rothschilds, the scheming American financiers J. P. Morgan and E.H. Harriman and the Sassoons were all friends of King Edward VII. Interestingly, the Sassoon family, known as ‘Rothschilds of the East’ due to the great wealth they accumulated in trade, is of Baghdadi descent and international renown. It was based in Baghdad, Iraq, before moving to Bombay, India, and then spreading to China, England, and other countries. It is said that the family descended from the Shoshans, one of the families of Iberian Peninsula. From the 18th century, the Sassoons were one of the wealthiest families in the world, with a merchant empire spanning the continent of Asia. The British monarchy never discriminated when dealing with money – much, much money.
There has always been an incestuous relationship between the British monarch and the global money-grubbing oligarchy, especially with the German-originated Barings Bank, once the world’s second oldest merchant bank, dating back before the Opium wars.
Edward VII intensely disliked his cousin Wilhelm II, the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria, and the Kaiser of Germany, who reciprocated. His son, the present Queen’s grandfather, George V, and the Kaiser were responsible for starting the so-called ‘cousins’ war’ – the first world war. But, while millions were dying in that war, the cousins’ families were enjoying life in Switzerland, surrounded by war-profiteers and their agents.
At the end of the war the royals resumed their usual lifestyle, entertaining German cousins with the usual gold plated banquets after hunting on their various estates, racing their yachts at Cowes and their horses at Ascot, cruising the sunspots in the summer and, of course, the usual winter bash in the Alps – paid for by their bankers.
Edward VII’s heir, George V, continued the ‘good friendship with bankers’ practiced by of his father. George V’s private financial adviser from 1929 onward was Sir Edward Peacock, a partner of Barings Bank. Peacock was also director of the Bank of England. Sir Edward Peacock would continue to advise the monarch until his death, well into Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
In 1934, for his services to the royals Swiss account, Peacock was knighted and given a Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, which is part of the ‘Sovereign’s Gifts’ in that it does not require consulting the Prime Minister. Incidentally, Kerr was craving and finally received such recognition for services to the Queen.
George V hugely enjoyed the incestuous relationship with ‘the City’. He selected Lord Cromer – more precisely Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer – as his Lord Chamberlain. Cromer was a director of Baring Bank and a director of several ‘establishment’ companies.
In 1936, when George V died, he left at least 1 billion pounds, tens of millions of which went directly into Swiss trusts for his ten-year-old granddaughter, Elizabeth, whom he adored.
While ordinary children were dying of starvation because of the Depression the future Queen never missed her morning ride in the heavily guarded Windsor Royal Park.
Continued Saturday – A cast of characters: The Monarchy (part 16)
Previous instalment – A cast of characters: The Monarchy (part 14)
Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some seventy years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reached at George.email@example.com.
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