Can we see your documents please, Your Majesty... Queen faces anti-terror checks every time she leaves UK
By Jason Lewis, Mail on Sunday Security Editor
Last updated at 10:08 PM on 05th December 2009
No exemptions: The Queen and Prince Philip at Heathrow
The Queen is to be forced to go through an identity check every time she flies into and out of Britain.
For the first time, Her Majesty will be compelled to give her full name, age, address, nationality, gender and place of birth to immigration officials, who will then check that she is not on a list of wanted terrorists.
It is unclear how the Queen will be asked for her personal information as she is not required to carry a passport and would normally be met off the aircraft by her chauffeur-driven car. The new system asks for a passport number, expiry date and details of where the passport was issued.
Buckingham Palace has been warned that the Queen will not be exempt from providing 'Travel Document Information' (TDI), which will then be uploaded on to the £750million computer system at the National Border Targeting Centre near Manchester Airport.
The system will provide a comprehensive record of everyone crossing the UK border by plane, sea or via the Channel Tunnel to 'strengthen the security of those who live in and visit our country'.
All passengers are checked against terrorist and criminal watch lists, and the computer analyses travel patterns to highlight suspicious movements.
Controversially, the information is also due to be shared with America, European security agencies and other 'friendly' nations.
A confidential document from Trusted Borders, the private consortium developing the e-Borders project for the Home Office, makes it clear that the Queen and other VIPs will be subject to the same new restrictions as other travellers.
The document, written by lead contractor Raytheon Systems and obtained by The Mail on Sunday, contains a list of questions relating to the new system that may be raised by those implementing it, such as airlines.
One reads: 'We carry a variety of VIPs; Heads of State, Royal Family members among others, for whom security is paramount and for whom we are not provided with all TDI. How do we report these individuals?'
The UK Border Agency response is unequivocal: 'Answer: The UK authorities require that TDI must be provided for all passengers without exception.'
The move will end the current practice of allowing VIPs, including senior members of the Royal Family, to travel under a pseudonym on commercial flights.
At the moment staff at Britain's airports are alerted to expect a senior Royal or other dignitaries by a message that 'Mr Confidential' is expected for a flight.
Ground staff would usually enter a false name on the flight manifest to protect their identity, but under the new system this practice will be banned and real names entered.
Last night a senior airport security source warned: 'The reason for entering a false name in the system is to protect the individual's security. Putting a VIP's real name in the system will alert people that someone important is on a particular flight and may, if the information falls into the wrong hands, make the flight a terrorist target. It is plainly ridiculous.'
Tory MP Patrick Mercer, former adviser to Security Minister Admiral West, agreed the new rules would increase the security risk to the Royal Family and said the system needed to be flexible to be effective.
Last night Royal sources said that members of the Royal Family would comply with whatever security procedures the Government decided upon.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: 'As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for the Queen to possess one. All other members of the Royal Family, including the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales, have passports.'
The Home Office refused to discuss the contents of the Trusted Borders document.
Brodie Clark, head of the Border Force, said: 'For security reasons we will not be commenting on how e-Borders will affect Royal travel protocols. It should be clear, however, that the Head of State for the UK does not require a passport.'