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Will Queen face dilemma over Carrie at Balmoral?

Will Queen face dilemma over Carrie at Balmoral? Aides are concerned about giving not-yet-divorced Boris traditional invitation to join royal holiday if he becomes PM, says SIMON WALTERS

Even before police were called to deal with the domestic dispute between Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds, the Queen had a delicate decision to make if, as expected, he becomes prime minister on July 22.

By tradition, prime ministers and their spouses stay with the Queen in Balmoral in September during her annual summer holiday in Scotland.

The Royal protocol issue – Johnson and Symonds are not married and his divorce from second wife Marina Wheeler is said to be way off – was already being discussed by courtiers before the couple’s row.

The Royal protocol issue – Johnson and Symonds (pictured) are not married and his divorce from second wife Marina Wheeler is said to be way off – was already being discussed by courtiers before the couple’s row. Now, royal experts say it is highly unlikely Johnson and Symonds will go to Balmoral as they are unmarried

Now, royal experts say it is highly unlikely Johnson and Symonds will go to Balmoral. It would be a blow to Miss Symonds, already referred to by friends light-heartedly as ‘Flotus’, after the term given to First Lady of the US, Melania Trump.

It is not the first time the question of whether unmarried couples can stay in palaces as guests of the Queen has been raised. The Queen’s ‘small c’ conservativism in such matters has caused political tension in the past.

Tony Blair’s chief of staff Jonathan Powell claimed he and partner Sarah Helm were ‘disinvited’ from a Balmoral barbecue in 2001 on the grounds they were unmarried.

In the early years of Prince Charles’s relationship with Camilla after the death of Princess Diana, the Queen refused to have contact with Camilla.

It is not the first time the question of whether unmarried couples can stay in palaces as guests of the Queen has been raised. The Queen's 'small c' conservativism in such matters has caused political tension in the past

It is not the first time the question of whether unmarried couples can stay in palaces as guests of the Queen has been raised. The Queen’s ‘small c’ conservativism in such matters has caused political tension in the past

In 2003, long after they wedded, Charles and Camilla spent the summer at Birkhall, the Queen Mother’s former home in Scotland. The Queen and Prince Philip were at Balmoral just two miles away at the same time, but the couples did not meet.

After former French president Nicolas Sarkozy married ex-model Carla Bruni in February 2008 following a whirlwind romance, he reportedly did so partly ‘to avoid the embarrassment of being offered different bedrooms’ when the couple stayed at Windsor Castle on a state visit.

Of the 13 prime ministers since the Queen was crowned in 1953, all except Sir Edward Heath were married. Only one, Sir Anthony Eden, had been divorced.

It would be a blow to Miss Symonds, already referred to by friends light-heartedly as 'Flotus', after the term given to First Lady of the US, Melania Trump

It would be a blow to Miss Symonds, already referred to by friends light-heartedly as ‘Flotus’, after the term given to First Lady of the US, Melania Trump

The Queen is said to place great emphasis on ‘precedent’ in dealing with such situations. But royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: ‘Under normal circumstances I think the Queen would have ignored precedent and welcomed Boris and Carrie to Balmoral. Social mores have changed and she would have been advised it was up to the prime minister to decide who to bring, particularly bearing in mind that Brexit is one of the biggest crises this nation has faced. But this incident changes that. Their relationship is clearly more volatile than anyone thought. Apart from breaking precedent, it would risk causing the Queen grave embarrassment.’

Assuming Johnson and Symonds are still an item in September, there are face-saving ways to resolve the matter. He could go on his own or the couple could stay at one of the lodges on the estate, or at Birkhall.

In his 2005 memoir, Mr Powell told how he and Miss Helm were informed they were to have dinner in a house on the Balmoral estate to keep them away from the barbecue. Mr Powell wrote: ‘[The Queen] supposedly felt she should not set a bad example for Charles, when Camilla was still not allowed at the palace.’

Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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