Letter: Parliamentary sovereignty and the role of the British monarchy

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article 'A prince of indiscretion' (18 October) is unfair to the Prince of Wales.

Very high standards are required of people who marry into royalty, and I strongly disagree that the Princess of Wales's media indiscretions should be considered 'just about excusable' on the grounds that she is 'still a relatively inexperienced young woman . . . party to . . . a marriage of convenience'. The Princess of Wales is, I believe, 33 years of age, with sons, one of whom is about to enter his teens.

Your remarks about the Prince's childhood 'far from corgis and happy families' are cruel, as are your assessments of him growing into 'unhappy, insecure . . . self-pitying' manhood. Given his stoicism at Gordonstoun, and his further grooming for kingship via university and the Navy, a sense of duty was obviously paramount and no criticism of him thus far arose.

The duty, as he saw it, of taking a wife followed, but severe limitations existed over his choice, which eventually fell on an apparently happy, well-adjusted teenager, with whom nobody could find any fault, and who seemed very happy to have been chosen as his wife and the future Queen.

Applying the same standards of age to him then, as to his wife now, you would admit that he was a 'relatively inexperienced young man', but no doubt you would argue that then, as now, he had 'access to advice and guidance from the best informed and most sophisticated minds in the land'. In fact, the advice and guidance he received then was ill-advised whatever its source and his family were unlikely to urge him to 'marry for love, or not at all'.

I am not surprised that Prince Charles feels he must now trust his own judgement and allow his side of the story to be told.

Prince Charles has never lost his credibility as the future King. His whole life has been dedicated to duty, above personal happiness, like that of his grandfather George VI and his mother, the Queen.

Prince Charles's duty, if it were ever raised, would be to ensure he did not remove himself from the line of succession. Who else is there? Have we anyone else as good as Prince Charles waiting in the wings? I hope so, but that will be after his time has come and gone.

Yours faithfully, A. LAWRENCE Harpenden, Hertfordshire 18 October

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