The Emperor's New Clothes (21/10/12)

Surely His Majesty Elect is entitled to confide in our ministers? No, says David Randall – there's jam to bottle

Share
Related Topics

What right has Prince Charles to write dozens of letters to ministers? Who does he think he is, bothering and badgering these hard-working folk in the squeezed upper strata of the body politic? Hasn't he got enough to do, laying hedges and counting his Duchy of Cornwall revenues while waiting for some uniformed helpmeet to lather his toothbrush for him?

Variations on these questions have been much aired in the past two days as it became clear that not only does Charles put pen to Basildon Bond rather more than the rest of us, but that the targets for his correspondence are government ministers. And, furthermore – for this is the cause of the fuss – the contents of these letters are not to be made public. And so, assorted trainee democrats have demanded to know, what exactly has Charles been up to?

The fear, presumably, is that Charles, with his wide portfolio of interests and enthusiasms ranging from recondite architecture and multiculturalism to field sports and Duchy Original oatmeal biscuits, has been assiduously lobbying for one or more of his current fads. An item in the newspapers catches his eye, a factotum is summoned, the fountain pen uncapped, filled with green ink, and before you know it, some hapless minister is reading Charles's observations as they meander across the page. Valuable ministerial time – which could be devoted to effing and blinding at policemen – then has to be spent on composing an emollient reply.

So, to return to our opening question: who does he think he is? Well, like many multi-issue obsessives with an odd home life, arcane dress sense, strange hobbies, and too much time on his hands, he thinks he is, or will be, the rightful king of England. He has been encouraged in this by many people in this country who bow, scrape, address him as "Sir", and believe in a Royal Family. The solution is simple. Stop treating him – and all his family – like royalty. Treat him instead like the farmer, jam bottler, biscuit maker, and builder of spooky village developments in Dorset that he is. Do that, and his pestering letters to ministers can join those sent by the rest of us, and be consigned, unread, to the wastepaper basket.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

Year 3 Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Junior Software Developer - Newcastle, Tyne & Wear - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer / J...

Systems Administrator (SharePoint) - Central London - £36,500

£35000 - £36500 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator (SharePoint) -...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Girls were by far the most worried about their appearance, the survey found  

English children are among the unhappiest in the world – we are failing them

Natasha Devon
 

Daily catch-up: eurogloom, Ed in Red and Cameron’s Wilsonian U-turn on control orders

John Rentoul
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering