Prince Charles Blasts 'Politically Correct' Britain
July 7, 2008
London (CNSNews.com) - A spokeswoman for Prince Charles defended the British royal family's interest in politics Wednesday after letters from the prince, leaked to the media, allegedly accused the U.K. government of being meddlesome and politically correct.
The dispute began when several newspapers printed a letter from the prince to Prime Minister Tony Blair concerning hunting and farming issues. The document was leaked to coincide with a massive weekend march by rural voters asking Blair's administration for farm-friendly policies.
The prince apparently passed on a remark made to him by a farmer who said: "If we, as a group, were black or gay, we would not be victimised or picked upon."
The weekend march, organized by the Countryside Alliance, was also called to oppose a potential nationwide ban on the traditional sport of foxhunting. According to reports, Prince Charles expressed support for the protesters in his letter and told the prime minister that he would leave the country and "spend the rest of my life skiing" if foxhunting were banned.
One newspaper also printed letters from the prince to top justice officials decrying an increase in personal injury lawsuits.
"I and countless others dread the very real and growing prospect of an American-style personal injury 'culture' becoming ever more prevalent in this country," wrote the prince, according to the Daily Mail .
"Such a culture can only lead ultimately to ... an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion."
The prince also complained about "the degree to which our lives are becoming ruled by a truly absurd degree of politically correct interference" and government regulation.
After an outcry by politicians, ethnic minority organizations and homosexual groups, a spokeswoman for the prince said Wednesday that he was merely taking "an active interest in all aspects of British life."
"It's part of the royal family's role to highlight excellence, express commiseration and draw attention to issues," the spokeswoman said. "(The prince) believes that as well as celebrating success, part of his role must be to highlight problems and represent views in danger of not being heard."
The spokeswoman also expressed anger at the media leaks.
"This role can only be fulfilled properly if complete confidentiality is maintained," she said.
Neither the prince's office nor the government would directly confirm the content of the prince's letters to the prime minister and other officials.
Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and first in line to the throne, has taken outspoken stances on a number of issues in the past. He has championed organic farming and other environmental causes, set up a charity to help poor youth start businesses and has frequently passed judgement on modern buildings and architecture.
Several politicians criticized the prince for trying to unduly influence the elected government.
"If he wants to be involved in politics, then he should consider standing for election," said Labor MP Ian Davidson. "I certainly hope he's not getting any more of a response than any constituent of mine who writes to a government minister."
Another Labor MP, Tony Banks, said the prince's correspondence could "undermine the monarchy" by politicizing the royal family.
"He seems to be getting himself involved in what are essential party political issues," Banks said.
But the prince's spokeswoman defended his involvement in politics.
"It's not about exerting undue pressure or campaigning privately," she said.
Under Britain's system of constitutional monarchy, the Queen technically has some powers over legislation and Parliament. In practice, however, the monarch's governmental function is purely ceremonial.
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