Private talks between Prince Charles and Cabinet ministers took place on dozens of occasions since last election

Future king's has had seven separate meetings with the PM since May 2010, and 36 in all with Coalition frontbenchers
  • @adamwithnall

Prince Charles has held 36 private meetings with Coalition ministers since the last general election, including opportunities to speak to Prime Minister David Cameron on seven separate occasions.

Since May 2010 the Prince of Wales has met Education Secretary Michael Gove, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Though the Prince is supposed to be politically neutral, he has had talks with Labour leader Ed Miliband on a relatively few three occasions.

A Clarence House spokesman said the future king has a “duty to communicate privately with the Government on any matter he chooses”.

He is well known to have strong views on green issues, rural and social affairs, though there is some debate as to the appropriate extent of his political influence.

The spokesman said that during meetings between the Prince and ministers, Charles brings “important insights, perspectives and knowledge built over 40 years of experience in a range of areas aimed at transforming lives and building sustainable communities”.

The details of the Prince’s meetings with ministers come after a decision from the Attorney General Dominic Grieve last month to prevent the disclosure of letters sent between Charles and members of the Government.

That ruling was upheld by three High Court judges, keeping correspondence between the Prince and seven departments private. Mr Grieve, the Government’s principal legal advisor, said any contact with ministers was part of Charles’ “preparation for becoming king” and to make that all public would undermine his ability to fulfil his duties when he becomes monarch.

Clarence House added: “His Royal Highness receives ministers and officials from a broad range of Government departments on a regular basis, either in office meetings or through initiatives such as the cross-party Campaign for Youth Social Action, which he will lead, or addressing the issue of illegal trade in wildlife.

”Official meetings, sometimes instigated by ministers, are important to the Prince in his role as heir to the throne.

“The Prince of Wales has a right - indeed it is his duty - to communicate privately with the Government on any matter he chooses, to bring his unique perspective and reflect the many issues people raise with him personally on his extensive engagements around the country.

”'Given these broad areas of interest, as well as specific events such as the Jubilee and Olympics, it is inevitable that HRH may, at times, see some ministers more than others.“