Kensington Palace has blamed European red tape for preventing the Duke of Cambridge carrying out more royal duties.
The Duke has faced accusations in some quarters that he is “lazy” because he has only carried out two royal engagements this year, in addition to his part-time job as an air ambulance pilot.
Palace sources claimed that Civil Aviation Authority rules on rest periods, which are handed down from Brussels, mean the Duke is banned from doing any sort of work on some of his rest days, including carrying out royal duties.
But the CAA rubbished the excuse, saying pilots could do what they wanted on rest days, even including paid employment, as long as it did not involve flying aircraft.
The Independent has revealed that Prince Charles demands a set of pre-conditions before giving television interviews. These include advance knowledge of questions, the right to monitor the editing process and also the right to block any unapproved broadcast.
The heir to the throne expects broadcasters to sign a 15-page contract in advance of any interview, reports the Independent’s Ian Burrell.
A plan to interview the prince in Paris on Sunday by Jon Snow for Channel 4 News was cancelled because the programme’s producers refused to agree to the conditions.
Other broadcasters appear to have agreed to his extraordinary list of draconian conditions in order to secure interviews with him. The contract amounts to a form of censorship.
The Indy cites one unnamed source as saying that the degree of news control was reminiscent of North Korea. It will add, says the paper, “to controversy surrounding Prince Charles’s attempts to influence national debate.”
It reminds readers of Charles’s “black spider” memos to ministers in which he sought to influence political decisions. These were finally published in June this year following a 10-year freedom of information battle by the Guardian.
Now, with the revelation of the prince’s “access agreement” for broadcasters, comes further evidence of the way in which he seeks to avoid media accountability for his views.
He clearly wishes to influence public opinion without the scrutiny that other public figures, notably politicians, must face.
This is another unforeseen consequence of Prince Charles’s novel and dangerous invention of an activist monarchy. He hasn’t really thought it through, has he?
David Cameron has admitted defeat after the government lost a 10-year battle with the Guardian to keep secret a “particularly frank” cache of lobbying letters written by Prince Charles.
Following a supreme court ruling on Thursday that 27 letters between the heir to the throne and ministers must finally be published under the Freedom of Information Act, the “deeply disappointed” prime minister has told aides to prepare their release.
The judges decided by five to two that the government had acted illegally when it vetoed the publication of Charles’s ministerial correspondence, the release of which had previously been approved by a lower court.
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?
Prince Charles is ready to reshape the monarch’s role when he becomes king and make “heartfelt interventions” in national life in contrast to the Queen’s taciturn discretion on public affairs, his allies have said.
In signs of an emerging strategy that could risk carrying over the controversy about his alleged meddling in politics into his kingship, sources close to the heir say he is set to continue to express concerns and ask questions about issues that matter to him, such as the future of farming and the environment, partly because he believes he has a duty to relay public opinion to those in power.
I’m not sure we have the constitution to handle something other than a figurehead monarchy. It seems rather radical to try and develop an activist monarch. Other than an overwhelming sense of entitlement, I wonder why he’s trying to change things?
There’s a longer profile here.