Prince Charles likes to let his mother’s Ministers know his views. In at least 27 letters to seven Government departments in just seven months, many of the letters being “particularly frank”. To release these letters would damage the Monarchy. And there again, since we now know this, the Monarchy is damaged anyway and the clamour for release will only grow. Who’d be Attorney-General with that one to juggle? Only a Tory one like Dominic Grieve could get away with being so bold about it. Labour have always been a load of lickspittles out of fear of alarming the tabloids.
HRH faces the difficulty that he doesn’t fit any of the ideologies of the age. He’s not a self-made millionaire. He’s a millionaire thanks to the generosity of King Edward III, who died in 1377. He’s never stood for election to any public office, been given a job on merit, or won a notable award, yet he still ranks as a VIP. The Duchy of Cornwall, despite the name, has its estates mainly in Wessex. The latest capital and revenue figures on its website show the extent of the Prince’s extraordinary good luck, bestowed on a man of evidently abysmal intelligence.
‘Charlesgate’ raises many questions. We have three to add to those which the London media deem important.
1. Why is £677 million of public money managed as a private landed estate rather than by the local folk whose environment it is?
2. Is funding Charles and his hobbies the best possible use of £17.2 million a year (less tax generously donated) when local authorities in Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire – all shires with Duchy properties – are faced with making huge cuts in public services?
3. Is there a similar file of embarrassing letters from the Earl of Wessex?
Royal Commissions are out of favour these days but if ever one were needed to delve through the mediæval murk to the heart of the matter, a Royal Commission on the Monarchy, with power to not take no for an answer, would be a very good place to start. We’re all in it together, after all, but some are rather more in it than others.