HM The Queen is said to be “worried” about Prince Charles’s insistence on being an “activist monarch” when he succeeds her.
The Prince intends to campaign on green issues once he gets the keys to Buckingham Palace, and has a strong track record of attacking anyone who opposes his views on Climate Change.
During the Queen’s reign she has stayed firmly non-political and has never publicly intervened in the running of the country. Even during the Scottish referendum she remained silent, aside from one supposedly indiscreet comment suggesting she opposed independence. This was despite her being the Queen of the United Kingdom, with an obvious vested interest in it remaining together.
By contrast Charles has written numerous letters to government ministers, and even once suggested taking his seat in the House of Lords to speak on environmental issues. According to a new book by Catherine Mayer, he plans to continue as an activist when he becomes King. Senior courtiers are said to be extremely worried about his attitude, and the Duke of Edinburgh is described by The Times as his “harshest critics” accusing him of “selfish behaviour” in putting his “cerebral passions” before his royal duties.
Although on paper, as a Constitutional Monarch, Charles would have the right to express his views on the affairs of state, in reality it is tradition that he should not. His mother has limited her political involvement to her weekly audience with the Prime Minister. The discussions remain secret but she has been described as an adviser, rather than using the meetings to dictate policy.
John Rentoul and James Hanning report in the Independent: “The Prince of Wales’ preparations for an activist monarchy have prompted a backlash, as a new book revealed a dysfunctional and divided court around him.”
They quote a source with close links to Buckingham Palace saying: “It is no accident that he writes all those letters to ministers. He does see himself as a kind of saviour of the nation, someone who can mend the broken country. Some might see that as presumptuously messianic.”
Despite the Queen’s reservations about his style it is perhaps the substance of his activism that is raising the most eyebrows. He is a committed believer in manmade climate change. He has attended over a hundred meetings and seminars on the subject over the past decade, and has attacked business people for “delaying” action on the issue that he sees as vital.
Prince Charles told the Independent that he had: “experienced every sort of reaction to the suggestions from myself and many others that time is running out. The negative reactions have ranged from polite indifference to the pronouncement by an economist – who else – that I was ‘the enemy of the enlightenment’.”
He continued: “There are many, many more examples of just how desperate these inextricably linked social and environmental problems have become,” he said. “Even in a world full of daunting perils and crises, it is hard to imagine greater challenges for humanity.”
This was in addition to an earlier occasion when he told the International Green Awards that mankind was on the brink of “committing suicide on a grand scale” unless urgent progress is made in tackling green issues such as carbon dioxide emissions, intensive farming and resource depletion.
Climate change is not the only issue Prince Charles has attempted to push forward using his unique position. He was also accused of causing “constitutional problems” by persuading Tony Blair to oppose genetically modified foods, a technology that had been hoped to boost food production and alleviate hunger. A former Blair minister, Michael Meacher, admitted Charles “was pushing it a bit” and that “you could well say” he was abusing his position, but that Labour were “delighted” he had.
Mayer, who is the is Editor at Large at TIME and former London Bureau chief for the magazine, said: “Charles is increasingly looking for ways to build his activities into the head-of-state role rather than tapering them off”, as some of the Queen’s officials would prefer.
“His independence, asserted over many years, is . . . not something he will readily cede,” Mayer writes. An ally of the prince says that “he won’t be silent” when he does assume the throne.
Time will tell whether these interventions cause him to follow the disasterous path of other overbearing Kings such as his relatives Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germay. Both of whom were forced out of office and lost the crown for their family.