Tuesday 18 June 2019

Prince Charles vows not to 'meddle' as king - 'I'm not that stupid'

The Prince of Wales will be among the celebrities at the Pride of Britain awards (Chris Radburn/PA)
The Prince of Wales will be among the celebrities at the Pride of Britain awards (Chris Radburn/PA)
Prince Charles with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall
American writer and actress Carrie Fisher talking with the Prince of Wales at the Hackney Empire in London (Fiona Hanson/PA)
Charles with Lethal Bizzle at St James’s Palace (Tim Whitby/PA)
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (Patron, The Sandringham Estate Cottage Horticultural Society) and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive at the Sandringham Flower Show 2018 at Sandringham House on July 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Charles chats with Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris. Photo: Frank McGrath
Britain's Prince of Wales meeting Sinn Fein's Martin Ferris at a Garden Party at Killarney House as part of their tour of the Republic of Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Charles chatting with the stars (Eddie Mulholland/The Daily Telegraph)
Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall pictured as they took a stroll along Derrynane beach during their visit to Caherdaniel Co Kerry. Picture Credit: Frank McGrath
Prince Harry looks at his bride, Meghan Markle, as she arrives accompanied by Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during their wedding in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Tom Barnes

Britain's Prince Charles has suggested he will not “meddle” in issues once he becomes king as he recognises the differences between being heir to the throne and head of state.

He has been criticised in the past for airing his views on topics such as the environment and architecture.

His outspoken opinions on such subjects has raised questions over whether he would be able to uphold the strict policy of political neutrality expected of British monarchs.

But, interviewed for a BBC documentary about his 70th birthday, the prince acknowledged he would not be “able to do the same things I've done as heir”.

Speaking in detail about his future role as head of state, Charles said: “You know, I've tried to make sure whatever I've done has been non-party political, and I think it's vital to remember there's only room for one sovereign at a time, not two.

“So, you can't be the same as the sovereign if you're the Prince of Wales or the heir.

“But the idea somehow that I'm going to go on in exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense because the two - the two situations - are completely different.”

Asked whether his public campaigning will go on, he added: “No, it won't. I'm not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So of course I understand entirely how that should operate.”

When questioned about what some have termed his “meddling”, Charles defended his actions, which include establishing the Prince's Trust in 1976 to help disadvantaged young people.

“But I always wonder what meddling is,” he said. “I mean I always thought it was motivating but I've always been intrigued, if it's meddling to worry about the inner cities as I did 40 years ago and what was happening or not happening there.

“The conditions in which people were living. If that's meddling I'm very proud of it.”

The documentary captures the future king in private and public, from feeding vegetable scraps to his chickens and collecting their eggs at his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire, to visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef to highlight climate change.

In the film, Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, due to air on BBC One on Thursday evening, the royal says of his role as Prince of Wales that: ”You have to make of it what you feel is right.

“So, there's nothing laid down, that's what makes it so interesting, challenging and of course complicated,” he added.

His wife described in the documentary how Charles was driven by the need to help others, saying: “He feels everything inside, that's why he gets things done.

“He's pretty impatient, he wants things done by yesterday as I think everybody who works for him will tell you.

“But that's how he gets things done, he's driven by this, this passion inside him to really help. He would like to save the world.”

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