Critics: Prince's Policy Meddling Is a Royal Pain

Charles accused of trying to influence government policy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2009 5:21 AM CST
Britain's Prince Charles, Colonel in Chief of the Mercian Regiment, talks with a soldier from the 4th Battalion.   (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, pool)

(Newser) – Prince Charles has been overstepping the bounds of his role—and the tradition that the monarchy stay politically neutral—by trying to influence policies made by elected politicians, his critics charge. The prince lobbied a government minister over designs for eco-towns mere hours after she was appointed, according to newly released documents. The prince has written to at least eight other government departments in recent years, the Times of London reports.

The British government is refusing to release details of the prince's correspondence on various policies, which became known in government circles as "black spider memos" because of his handwriting. “He is entitled to press his views. I would treat it no differently to anybody else’s," said one former minister. But "if he is making his views known to ministers, they should be in the public domain.”

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