One's Gold

Philip Proffers Forthright Advice To Bankers

Prince Philip had some advice for central bankers over the financial crisis when he and the Queen visited the Bank of England today: “Don’t do it again,” he told them.

His remarks cam after the Queen interrogated bank staff on the causes of the financial crisis.

The 86-year-old monarch avoids entering political debate, but four years ago pointedly asked academics why nobody had foreseen the financial crisis.

On her bank visit she said: "I suppose in money terms it is very difficult foreseeing (things). But people had got a bit ... lax?", before agreeing with an official that the real problem could have been "complacency".

She asked whether the bank regulator at the time lacked the powers it needed, reflecting plans to abolish the Financial Services Authority and divide its responsibilities between the Bank of England and a new watchdog."It was really quite new, wasn't it? But it didn't have any teeth or something?" she asked.

The comments came after they toured vaults piled high with gold bullion worth billions of pounds and then signed a million pound note – which will remain unissued - for the Bank's guest book, a quirky tradition that dates back to the 19th century.

The last time the couple browsed the Bank’s vaults of gold bars was in 1998, although the Queen’s first visit was back in 1937 when she accompanied Queen Mary.

It was monarch's eighth visit to the Bank of England and she appeared intrigued when she was shown the very first banknote she had signed for the guest book on November 29, 1937, as an 11-year-old. The signature was a simple "Elizabeth" written in a neat young girl's script.

On signing the note today, the Queen said of her signature: "It hasn't improved much you know."

Sujit Kapadia from the Bank's Financial Services Committe said the Queen was very interested in what the Bank was trying to do to prevent another crisis. Mr Kapadia said he then explained various reforms that had been put in place to keep economies stable.