One law for the powerful and one for the powerless?

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So Prince Charles is a sacred cow and we mere mortals are not entitled to know what he thinks even though he avails of the very essence of democracy vested in ministers of the Crown.

The man who should become king, should his mother expire before him, has been using his offices to make his feelings known to ministers of the Crown over a period of years about matters of interest to him.

Are we to believe that Prince Charles, expected to be above politics in the British system, has been simply sending Christmas cards to ministers?

Prince Charles


Aren’t these ministers firstly entrusted with the interests of the electorate through the ballot box and then charged with with being custodians of that public interest in accordance with a ministerial code of conduct?

Which minister is going to ignore a request on any issue from Prince Charles? None, to judge by the sycophantic utterance of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt who sounded weak at the knees on ITV News at the very mention of the name Prince Charles. He claims the prince has written to him several times.

Now the Attorney General Dominic Grieve introduces what is effectively another legal loop hole, not too far away from a Public Interest Immunity Certificate, PIIC, deployed by repeated Secretaries of State in Northern Ireland, to conceal the nature of the royal personage’s requests.

In many instances the use of a PIIC, in the interest of ‘national security,’ was a euphemism for covering up the rôle of informers and dare I say it much worse in what former Northern Ireland Secretary of State John Reid called “your murky dirty little war,” in Northern Ireland – Reid wasn’t just referring to the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries.

The Attorney General makes the following argument against the Guardian Newspaper’s request through FOIs to establish what was in Prince Charles’s letters to government ministers:

“In summary, my decision is based on my view that the correspondence was undertaken as part of the Prince of Wales’s preparation for becoming king. The Prince of Wales engaged in this correspondence with ministers with the expectation that it would be confidential. Disclosure of the correspondence could damage the Prince of Wales’s ability to perform his duties when he becomes king.”

Let us examine these questionable AG motives probably based on assumptions and presumptions: when has it become custom and practice for a future monarch to align with any institution to gain ‘work experience’ for a career?

Who advised the Attorney General that Prince Charles who has been hanging around for at least half a century waiting to step into his mother’s shoes needed ‘preparation’ to become King?

Dominic Grieve


Charles has been training for this post all his adult life.

Even if any veracity attached to what Dominic Grieve argues – isn’t his conclusion even more ludicrous when he adds “disclosure of the correspondence could damage the Prince of Wales’s ability to perform his duties when he becomes king.”

Has Prince Charles insulted or character assassinated his mother, a Prime Minister or the Pope in one of these communications to ministers? I doubt if he has compromised himself and conceivably I would agree with him on whatever he might say about the countryside or contemporary architecture.

Grieve’s rationale for blocking the Guardian’s request to know what was in Prince Charles’s letters certainly appears to me contestable and contrived.

More than likely Prince Charles sought to influence government’s decision just like the NOW and it is this which the Attorney General wants to keep in the ‘red box.’

He, I suspect especially wants to protect ministers who bowed the knee to his ‘Highness’ being exposed as weak-kneed creatures licking up to the Royal household.

Does anyone believe that you or I would be afforded corresponding privilege were the Guardian seeking to know from the Government what they deemed was in the public interest?

This whole Prince Charles letters saga has more than a whiff of one law for the powerful and one for the powerless.

Prince Charles alongside David Cameron


Would any Joe Soap who reportedly behaved towards a member of the police service like Conservative Whip Andrew Mitchell allegedly did, continue to swan around challenging the veracity of what the police said?

I guess not and more than likely you and I would end up in the back of a police vehicle had we displayed any insubordination to the Police and, rightly so.

David Cameron said: “I went to a great school and I want every child to have a great education. I’m not here to defend privilege, I’m here to spread it.”

If the above is what Mr Cameron wants to spread around I suggest he keeps it because it makes a laughing stock of democracy and more importantly equality.


About Author

I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.


  1. Eddie Finnegan on

    Seems to me that if Charles wants some early practice at being Uachtarán na Breataine Móire (lúide Albain srl ar ndóigh) he should take a leaf out of Michael D’s Latin American itinerary. Where better than Argentina or Chile to have a go at the banks, the EU, the IMF, Reaganite-Thatcherite-Pinochettian-Chicago school economics and human rights? He could even meet his diaspora – mainly German but with some Brits too – and maybe reach an agreement over the Malvinas. The shortest way from Buck House or the Áras to Downing St or Leinster House is via Buenos Aires or Santiago. If he wants to travel north, Conor Murphy’s his man for Hugo’s Caracas. No doubt he’ll want to spend time in Peru for some well aimed pre-Incan barbs at the modern mess the Incas made of their Machu Picchu restoration. Meanwhile here in North London I await the birth of the Carolingian People’s Republic. I have already prepared a FoI request for Dominic Grieve, but under Jeremy Hunt I fear for my health and my vision.

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