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How come Prince Charles has a .gov.uk site?

November 19, 2010 5 Comments

There are three criteria for being able to register a .gov.uk domain name, according to the Central Office of Information (COI). They are to "preserve the integrity of the .gov.uk namespace". Although Prince Charles doesn't seem to fit them, somehow he's got himself a website at www.princeofwales.gov.uk.

Prince of Wales website

Prince of Wales website

Registration/ownership of a .gov.uk is limited by the COI to:

  • UK government and devolved administration departments and agencies;
  • executive and advisory non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs);
  • local and regional government bodies (including town and parish councils).

The owner of the site is The Office of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. And the T&Cs say it is  "operated by the Principal Private Secretary for the Household of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwal". This doesn't appear to fit any of the three criteria ... For instance, none of these offices or households are listed as NDPBs in the Information on Public Bodies list.

In fact, the COI goes on to say that the following, among others, are NOT eligible for a .gov.uk domain:

  • individuals (included elected representatives);
  • charitable, voluntary and privately owned organisations;

The site does rather seems to be about him as an individual as well as his charitable organisations.

He needn't worry though as no organisation has ever been made to stop using a .gov.uk domain.

Hat tip to @annelideworm for asking the question in the first place ..

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5 Comments »

  • Gerry White says:

    I hate to admit this but its actually an excellent site, too many .gov websites are terrible, but this is good, I agree it shouldn't be a .gov site though...

  • Worm says:

    I have no life, so I've gone through the first 40 pages of Google results for .gov.uk , and Charlie appears to be the only one that is an individual, the others are all councils or government departments of one sort or another. Quite why he needs his own site as opposed to say a detailed section on the general 'Monarchy' site is anyone's guess.

  • Surely he's an arm of the government? Or at least a local body?

    • As his own annual report says (my emphasis):

      "While there is no established constitutional role for The Heir to The Throne, The Prince seeks, with the support of his wife The Duchess of Cornwall, to do all he can to make a difference for the better in the United Kingdom and internationally. The way in which His Royal Highness does so can, in simple terms, be divided into three parts."

      He lists those as undertaking royal duties in support of The Queen , working as a charitable entrepreneur, and promoting and protecting national traditions, virtues and excellence."

      He's just the son of the Queen - he is no part of the government.

  • That still sounds like he's part of the government to me. From here, I would have assumed that everyone would consider him so. Really not so? The royal family is not some part of the tourism dept? I don't see how he can't be.

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