Bombshell detail in secret palace letters
Bombshell correspondence between the Queen and the Governor-General over the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam Government has revealed she was left in the dark over the final decision to sack the government.
But the letters confirm that the heir-to-the-throne, the then 26-year-old Prince Charles was in the loop over the constitutional crisis and talking to the Governor-General Sir John Kerr over his fears that he would be sacked by Gough Whitlam, as previously suggested in historian Professor Jenny Hocking's book.
The release of the letters today, nearly 45 years after the Governor-General sacked the Whitlam Government, follows a High Court legal battle launched by Professor Hocking.
In 1000 pages of documents, the key letter from Governor-General Sir John Kerr to Buckingham Palace on November 11, 1975 confirms the Queen was not consulted on the decision.
"I decided to take the step I took without informing the Palace in advance ... it was better for Her Majesty NOT to know," Sir John Kerr's letter states.
On November 20, the Governor-General also wrote he did not warn Gough Whitlam he was considering sacking him as it would put the Queen in an "impossible position."
"If in the period of 24 hours in which he was considering his position he advised the Queen that I should be immediately dismissed, the position would then have been that either I would be, in fact, trying to dismiss him while he was trying to dismiss me - an impossible position for the Queen,'' Sir John Kerr wrote.
"I simply could not risk the outcome for the sake of the monarchy."
The trove of documents also reveals that on October 2, Sir John Kerr discussed his concerns that the Prime Minister Gough Whitlam would ask the Queen to sack him as Governor-General.
"Prince Charles told me a good deal, and you'd spoken of the possibility of the Prime Minister advising the Queen to terminate your commission... at the end of the road, the Queen - as a constitutional sovereign - would have no option but to follow the advice of her Prime Minister,'' Martin Charteris, the Queen's private secretary, replied.
"I believe the more one thinks about them, the less likely they are to happen - the umbrella/rain syndrome."