ROYAL courtiers put pressure on the Welsh Government to make sure King Charles would not be prosecuted under a new law drawn up by a minister, it has emerged.

The elected minister who is the Welsh Government’s chief legal adviser agreed to a special exemption for the monarch last year from a bill reforming agricultural practices, but was “not happy” about it, according to The Guardian.

According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, a Buckingham Palace official phoned the Welsh Government to seek an assurance under an archaic custom known as Crown Consent, that requires UK parliaments to obtain the permission of the monarch to draft bills before they can be implemented.

Under the mechanism, ministers notify the royal family of specific clauses in draft laws that may affect their personal wealth, private property or public functions. The ministers ask the monarch to approve the laws before they can be passed.

On June 1 last year, the Welsh Government noted in an internal memo that its lawyers “had been contacted by Buckingham Palace officials who have sought an assurance that Welsh ministers will take into account conventions regarding prosecuting the crown when making regulations under this bill”.

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In an email the following day, Welsh officials noted that Mick Antoniw, the Welsh government’s counsel general – the equivalent of the attorney general in Westminster – was “not happy with the exclusion”. However, he “recognises the ongoing convention and therefore” agreed to it.

This was a reference to an ill-defined convention under which criminal and civil proceedings cannot be brought against the monarch as head of state.

More than 30 laws stipulate that police are barred from entering the Balmoral and Sandringham estates without the king’s permission to investigate possible crimes, including wildlife offences and environmental pollution. No other private landowner in the country is given such legal immunity.

In the case of last year’s Agriculture (Wales) Act, the King was exempted from regulations relating to the marketing of agricultural products, the disposal of carcasses and the disclosure of information to the Welsh state.

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Police are also unable to gain automatic entry to the king’s private property portfolio under that part of the act.

Anti-monarchy group Labour for a Republic said it was an "outrageous" example of the monarchy's "abuse of power" on Twitter/X. 

Previous investigations by The Guardian have shown lawyers for the late Queen Elizabeth lobbied Scottish ministers in 2021 to change a draft law to exempt her private land from a major initiative to cut carbon emissions.

It meant she did not need to follow the rules set out in the Heat Networks Bill, which requires people to facilitate the construction of pipelines for heating using renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels.

Ministers in Westminster, Scotland and Wales have been required to obtain the King’s consent to 20 laws since he came to the throne in September 2022.

Buckingham Palace refused to say whether the King had asked for any changes to these laws before approving them.

According to Buckingham Palace, the royal household rang the Welsh Government to ensure that “as a matter of legal correctness” the monarch could not be prosecuted under the Agriculture (Wales) Act.

A palace spokesperson said the convention had to be maintained as the draft act contained a particular type of legislation that would not rule out the possibility of a prosecution.

The spokesperson added: “At no point were any objections raised by the Welsh Government, either formally or informally.”

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “The immunity of the monarch from prosecution is a long-established principle.”