The Prince of Wales’s conduct is unbecoming of the heir to the throne. The latest controversy, in which he has egregiously likened Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine to the Nazis, comes at a particularly sensitive time for the monarchy. A “gradual succession” is underway, in which he slowly assumes more of his 88-year-old mother’s duties, preparing him for the throne.
Yesterday’s arguments that the Prince is a private citizen with private views doesn’t wash this time: he can have no reasonable expectation of privacy when speaking in his capacity as heir.
One can support the Royal Family and still think his behaviour unwise. While there are no written rules about what a modern monarch may not say, it is critical to show political neutrality and the Queen has avoided intervening in public debate. In so doing she has elevated the monarchy above the fray.
This latest remark - coming after architecture, planning, homeopathy, organic farming, climate change and the 27 still-unpublished “black spider memos” secretly lobbying ministers - causes difficulties for British diplomats at a tense time.
Some will also question the judgement of a man who will one day be head of state, who must unify the nation and represent it around the world. The Prince must show much greater sensitivity to the succession and to public perception of the monarchy, lest he squander his inheritance.