The prince and the papers - William receives cabinet documents

Cabinet meeting, May 2015 Image copyright Getty Images

We've always known the Queen, as a constitutional monarch, has access to government papers.

She has a right to be consulted; to encourage; and to warn her government ministers.

Now we've learned, in the past two days, that her son and grandson enjoy such privileges - privileges that are not normally extended to elected junior ministers.

In the past, Prince William didn't rush to embrace his destiny. Marriage, fatherhood and entering his 30s have heralded a shift in his approach.

Access to these documents allows him to understand Whitehall and to prepare for when he is king.

His supporters will argue this makes perfect sense as it's better to have an informed future monarch than an ignorant one.

His critics will question the lack of transparency and the need for him to see such sensitive material in the first place.

Prince William gets confidential papers