Prince Charles lobbied the Prime Minister in support of 'alternative medicines', 'black spider' letters show

The heir to the throne bemoaned the effect on the 'complementary medicine sector'

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Prince Charles lobbied the Prime Minister in person against laws governing herbal medicine, according to correspondence released by the government.

The heir to the throne said a European Union directive on alternative medicine was having “a deleterious effect on the complementary medicine sector in this country” in a letter to Tony Blair, the then PM.

Letters between the Prince and Labour government dating from between September 2004 and March 2005 were released after a decade-long legal and tribunal action by the Guardian newspaper.

In one, to the Prime Minister’s office, the Prince of Wales promises to have a detailed briefing on the complementary medicines sent to the Prime Minister’s team and recounts an apparent face-to-face discussion with the PM.

“We briefly mentioned the European Union Directive on Herbal Medicines, which is having such a deleterious effect on the complementary medicine sector in this country by effectively outlawing the use of certain herbal extracts,” the Prince wrote.

“I think we both agreed that this was using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. You rightly asked me what could be done about it and I am asking the Chief Executive of my Foundation for Integrated Health to provide a more detailed briefing which I hope to be able to send shortly so that your advisers can look at it.”

In a statement a spokesperson for the Prince's official residence said the royal “cares deeply about this country.”

"The Prince of Wales believes, as have successive Governments, that he should have a right to communicate privately. The publication of private letters can only inhibit his ability to express the concerns and suggestions which have been put to him in the course of his travels and meetings,” the statement said.


“This view has been given effect by Parliament, which passed legislation in 2010 to ensure that the communications of The Prince of Wales, and that of The Queen, should be exempt from publication under the Freedom of Information Act.

“This change emphasised the unique constitutional positions of the Sovereign and the Heir to the Throne. Clarence House continues to believe in the principle of privacy.'”

The Prince is on record as a supporter of alternative medicine. In January last year the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that he had lobbied the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about a register of practitioners.

Jeremy Hunt himself has signed a parliamentary Early Day Motion in support of homeopathy, an alternative medicine.

Freedom of information law has since been changed to give an absolute exemption for the Prince and other Royals from disclosure.