There’s no secret. His aides have announced that King Charles will “reshape the monarch’s role” and make “heartfelt interventions”. I can’t see him moderating his stance when his mother dies. He’s 66 and has waited for the throne all his life. Unlike Prince Andrew, he can move out of the gossip columns and into the history books. Old men in a hurry don’t change when a prize like that is in sight. More to the point, no one is making him change. A by no means exhaustive list of his political interventions includes: health – he forced ministers to listen to his gormless support for homeopathic treatments and every other variety of charlatanism and quackery; defence – he protested against cuts in the armed forces; justice – he complained about ordinary people’s access to law, or as he put it: “I dread the very real and growing prospect of an American-style personal injury culture”; political correctness – he opposes equality as I suppose a true royal must; GM foods – he thinks they’re dangerous, regardless of evidence; modern architecture – he’s against; and eco-towns – he’s for, as long as he has a say in their design.
The question should not be whether you agree with him (although I would doubt your sanity if you agreed with his whole obscurantist world view) but: by what right does he interfere? To date, no politician has asked it.
After four generations of telling the British that the monarchy is a unifying force “above politics”, politicians do not even trouble to pretend that Charles III is anything other than a “player” with his own manifesto and prejudices. When the former attorney general Dominic Grieve tried to stop the Guardian finding out how the prince lobbies, he did not say that a neutral royal should be left alone. On the contrary, he said that the prince’s letters to ministers expressed his “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” and were in “many cases particularly frank”. They must be kept secret because publication would destroy the illusion of a royal neutrality no one in power thinks exists any more.
How is such a man to deliver a King’s speech or be trusted to act impartiality in a hung parliament? How can he meet and greet foreign leaders he has publicly opposed, or choose a prime minister he has publicly disagreed with, or be a unifying force when every position he takes will inevitably create opposition?