Prince Charles ‘black spider’ letters reveal that he’s quite funny

The letters the Prince of Wales write to secretaries of state show that he’s quite funny – if a little long-winded

Helen Nianias
Thursday 14 May 2015 10:01 BST

The release of Prince Charles’ “black spider” letters – memos he wrote to senior politicians in order to exert influence on their departments – turned out to be less spicy than many had hoped.

Despite an incredible 10-year-long battle to keep the contents of the letters under wraps, when they were finally revealed the letters were perhaps less exciting than many had anticipated.

Charles wrote to politicians - including then-Prime Minister Tony Blair - asking about farming, dry stone walling, the military and Shackleton's huts. Most intriguingly, he expressed concern about troops in the Middle East being inadequately protected, and protested against the use of a specific helicopter.

The memos - dubbed the "black spider" letters because of the Prince's distinctive, spindly handwriting - were deemed by some to be unconstitutional. Critics argue that the monarch should have no hand in government, and that a future monarch should not be able to privately lobby politicians.

While serious in tone, Charles managed to inject a decent sense of humour into the memos.

In the letters, he mocks himself for being boring, and gently chastises people for being "unimaginative". Prince Charles not the Archbishop of Banterbury, but he's pretty funny.

'Boring' Prince



Not dead yet


And, perhaps having tired of the Prince's quite extensive and detailed correspondence, Tony Blair clearly gave the big daddy of all social excuses.

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