Prince Charles's 'role' in barracks row criticised

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One of Britain's leading architects, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, has accused Prince Charles of "interfering" with public planning, and said that he "needs to make up his mind" about his public and private role.

Sir Nicholas's comments follow the dispute over the redevelopment of the Chelsea Barracks site in central London, in which Prince Charles involved himself by writing to the site's owners, the Qatari royal family, to object to their choice of architect, Richard Rogers.

"I just don't think it's right," Sir Nicholas said. "Prince Charles has to make his mind up about what he wants to be. He can write to the Qatari prince to say, 'Look, I don't like your scheme'. But I don't think that's the right role for him, if he's an employee of the British public.

In an interview with The Independent, Sir Nicholas, who is president of the Royal Academy, also said that he thought the Government "didn't take seriously enough" the need for quality in public buildings.