Supreme court allows publication of Charles' memos

  john bunyan 11:06 26 Mar 2015

The supreme Court has ruled, by a majority of 5 - 2 that the Attorney General was wrong to prevent publication of Prince Charles' "spidery memos to Government ministers. I believe this only covers those before 2011 when the law was changed to make them private.

I am sure we will see that this man, sincere as he may be, tries to influence policy on such issues as holistic medicine, GM foods, etc.

I fear it will reduce his - already shaky- popularity as a future monarch, as he shows little sign of accepting that his views on such subjects are based not on scientific research, but his own beliefs. We have debated this before, but I suspect that unless he changes, he may become King Charles the Last.

Supreme court ruling

  Forum Editor 15:42 26 Mar 2015

"It's not that we want to know what he thinks ( we know a lot of that already!!), but how he is using his position to gain 'audience' with Ministers."

Let's be realistic for a moment. if you loved your country deeply, and cared passionately about certain issues, and were the heir to the throne, wouldn't you use your position to get your views across to Ministers?

Charles can't go onto a current affairs programme and be interviewed about his views on government matters, and he can't write about them in newspapers or magazines - in fact he has fewer opportunities to get his feelings across than many journalists and TV pundits. He tries to compensate by writing to Ministers, just as you or I could do, and frankly I say good luck to him. At least he's trying, which is a lot more than you can say about a lot of other people.

  john bunyan 18:07 26 Mar 2015


It is not so much his historic lobbying of ministers, albeit with a number of silly views , such as support for holistic medicine.

The major issue is that, in my view, the Queen has been so successful as a monarch, and has, indeed been a major force in keeping the monarchy popular both here and indeed in the Commonwealth. Her success is exactly that she keeps her views entirely to herself.

Unless Charles learns this lesson from his mother and, when he becomes king, follows her example, I am sure the whole issue of the monarchy will become more and more unpopular. Can yon imagine the likes of Australia putting up with his pontificating?

  Forum Editor 23:12 26 Mar 2015

john bunyan

"Her success is exactly that she keeps her views entirely to herself".

That's because she's the Queen. When Charles is King he will have to do the same, but he's not the King yet - there's a big difference.

  Forum Editor 23:19 26 Mar 2015


**"I wonder why he should have more influence than me or any other citizen/subject? If he has, then we are no longer a true democracy"**

I'm amazed at your naivety if you really do wonder why he has more influence than you. he's the heir to the throne, for goodness sake. You're not.

It has absolutely nothing to do with democracy - you're getting confused. Democracy is about government - of the people, by the people, and for the people. Charles is a person - he is just as entitled to his views as you are to yours. The difference is, there will come a time when, for constitutional reasons he will have to appear to be politically neutral. I say 'appear' because of course the Queen is not politically neutral in the strictest sense. She has views about who should or should not govern, but she can do nothing to influence that in real terms. You can, and so in that respect democracy favours you, not the Queen, and not Charles.

  Al94 09:45 27 Mar 2015

We may never see or hear about it, but as head of the 'establishment' the Queen can have extraordinary influence.

But does she? where is the evidence?

  morddwyd 10:15 27 Mar 2015

"He tries to compensate by writing to Ministers, just as you or I could do, and frankly I say good luck to him"

Couldn't agree more, but he is no more entitled to keep those communications private than the rest of us.

Don't forget, the fuss is not about the letters, but about publishing them.

Non-Cabinet ministerial communications are, in the main, in the public domain, whether from HRH or YT (Yours Truly).

  Forum Editor 17:03 27 Mar 2015


"...he is no more entitled to keep those communications private than the rest of us."

Of course not, but he's just as entitled, surely? If you send me a letter you own the copyright in it, and I may not publish it (or parts of it) without your consent, until you have been dead for at least fifty years. if I do publish you can take legal action against me for copyright infringement, and you would win.

Private letters are just that - private - unless the writer agrees otherwise. Your letters to a Minister are not in the public domain unless you agree to it.

If a Ministry - or a newspaper - wants to publish what you wrote they must first satisfy themselves that it is in the public interest for them to do so. That's what is at the bottom of the Supreme Court ruling.

My own opinion is that I am not particularly interested in knowing what Prince Charles wrote - I would be far more interested in knowing what (if any) influence his opinions have had on Ministerial decisions. If I write to a Minister my letter might influence government decisions, but it's not very likely. If Prince Charles writes to a Minister, does that Minister feel more inclined to consider his opinions than mine?

Therein, as they say, lies the rub. Princes have sought to influence governments as long as both have existed. This Prince isn't unique in that respect.

  john bunyan 19:19 27 Mar 2015

Memos etc as a Prince is one thing. Trying the same as a King is totally different and unacceptable. He will be the nominal head of the Armed Forces, the Church and a number of other things. I an unconvinced he will be able to resist continuing to expound his - sometimes outlandish - views. Unless he does I see a Constitutional problem, quite apart from my misgivings over his whole persona. I just wish that an excuse (such as his marrying a divorcee) could have been found to enable him to step aside in favour of William. Not possible, I suppose.

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