Buckingham Palace has denied the recent reports that Queen Elizabeth II lobbied to block legislation that would have made her shareholdings more transparent.

According to documents obtained by the Guardian, the Queen's lawyers successfully lobbied to block the change in a draft law in the 1970s in an attempt to hide her private wealth and any "potentially embarrassing" investments. The papers show that the British monarch held meetings with her solicitor and senior civil servants starting 1973 after refusing to give the planned Companies Bill "The Queen's Consent."

Queen's Consent is a power where the monarch can be notified about upcoming legislative debates affecting their private interests. It is required before Parliament is able to debate a bill that can affect royal prerogatives. It is different from the Royal Assent, which is the last stage of the legislative process where Her Majesty rubber-stamps any laws passed in both the houses.

While Royal Assent can never be denied, the Queen's Consent is very occasionally denied, but only on the advice of ministers. While the aforementioned documents suggest that the Queen had refused to give her consent to the said law, Buckingham Palace says the report is "simply incorrect," reports Royal Central.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "Queen's consent is a parliamentary process, with the role of sovereign purely formal. Consent is always granted by the monarch where requested by government. Any assertion that the sovereign has blocked legislation is simply incorrect."

"Whether Queen's consent is required is decided by parliament, independently from the royal household, in matters that would affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the monarch. If consent is required, draft legislation is, by convention, put to the sovereign to grant solely on advice of ministers and as a matter of public record," the statement further read.

The alleged lobbying happened almost 50 years ago during the premiership of Edward Heath. If the law was passed, it would have allowed directors to demand that front companies holding their shares reveal the identities of the real owners of the shares.

The Queen's approval is needed in the UK before any law comes into effect. However, she cannot deny her consent without the advice of ministers in the government. The 94-year-old is a constitutional monarch, and with no policy or executive role, her having an active veto over proposed legislation would breach the two rules she has to follow and would therefore be unconstitutional.

One of the rules is that she must act in accordance with the advice of the elected government, usually through the Prime Minister, and she cannot ignore this advice. The other is that she must always be non-partisan and non-political, thereby staying above party politics.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II Photo: POOL / Ben STANSALL