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EDITIONS
Monday, 30 September, 2002, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Charles letter row: Should Royals get involved in politics?
Prince Charles' right to take an interest in politics has come under scrutiny, after his letter writing campaign to government ministers sparked a political row.

St James's Palace defended the prince's political stand after he reportedly flooded government offices with letters on a wide range of issues, including political correctness and red tape.

The details of the leaked letters, which appeared in the Daily Mail, came after the prince was criticised over claims that he had written to Prime Minister Tony Blair to relay countryside campaigners' views that they were being treated worse than ethnic minorities or gays.

Do you think Prince Charles is entitled to get involved in politics? Or should he leave it to the elected representatives?


This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Charles should be making his voice heard

Chris, England
Certainly! As Prince of Wales and future King, Charles should be making his voice heard. Otherwise, who else outside of politics will stand up for his country and be listened to?
Chris, England

Charles has got the right to express any opinion he likes. Trouble is the position that the country insists on keeping him in. Most of the electorate want hunting banned, Charles doesn't but he can't vote. Both me and him have an opinion - trouble is his opinion is worth more than mine because of 'who he is'.
Steve, Cornwall, Britain

It is every citizen's right in this country to have freedom of speech. This includes the Royal Family. As per normal Mr Blair considers anyone's opinion irrelevant except his own. Enough said.
Marjorie, England


The royals cannot have it both ways

Steve, England
We do not live in a free country: we are subjects of the Crown. But the constitution has evolved in such a way that the country is governed democratically, and the monarchy is permitted to continue as a figurehead. The royals cannot have it both ways. If Charles wants to occupy the throne one day, he must accept that he has no part to play in politics. It is the only way the monarchy can survive, and it is in large part up to him whether it does so.
Steve, England

As a strident pro-monarchist I believe that this incident has severely damaged Charles' credibility. It is imperative that in future he uses restraint rather than put his foot straight in his own mouth.
Michael Reiss, England

Seeing that the royal family spend more time with the general public than possibly the whole of the government put together I'd say that they are entitled to air their valuable opinions whenever they see fit.
Paul, England


He might as well do something rather than be idle

Phil, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
The monarchy must remain above party politics at all times but there is no reason why Prince Charles should not advise the government of his concerns. If he is going to one day sit on the throne, then he might as well do something rather than be idle.
Phil, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK

Absolutely, carry on the good work, Your Highness! The more people questioning the policies of this government the better. The Tories and others are not doing a good (if any) job at opposition and, certainly in my mind there is a void here. If Prince Charles believes he can fill it, the best of British luck to him. He gets my vote. I wonder where the leak came from. Fifty quid that it didn't come from Prince Charles' office...
David, England

The last time a royal got involved in politics, it resulted in a civil war. Prince Charles' claim that people of ethnic groups and gays get more help than farmers is not true. Farmers get a lot of subsidiaries; ethnic groups and gays get handouts that pale into insignificance. It doesn't surprise me that Charles gets his facts wrong, considering he has a father who is known for his oddball quips.
Stefan P, England

Does it matter? It's not as if anyone takes him seriously anyway.
Chris, UK

I trust Prince Charles to represent my views far more than any MP! He, at least, does not have any axe to grind, or worry about being re-elected.
Alex Wright, UK


Prince Charles has been a political figure since childhood

Nathan, USA
Let's face it people, whether you like it or not, Prince Charles has been a political figure since childhood. No one in such a prominent family can avoid it. The question is whether he will use that prominence in a constructive or destructive way.
Nathan, USA

I believe that Prince Charles has every right to express his opinions both in private and in public. Why? Because I have that same right!
Bill, UK

We are all entitled to our own views. The prince has written private letters to the relevant people voicing his concerns. In my view he has acted honourably by voicing his concerns privately.
Caron, England

Everybody in this country is free to comment and write to MPs with concerns. Thank God we have a monarchy taking interest in the country they live in and its people.
Steve Doyle, UK


He should not be interfering in these kinds of matters

Tom O' D, UK
Prince Charles has no right to be involved at this level of party politics. If he wants this level of representation for the people then he should stand for election. Since it is extremely unlikely that he would do this, as he would have to renounce his title, he should not be interfering in these kinds of matters.
Tom O' D, UK

I find it a little bizarre that the palace would suggest that in order to help the people of Britain, his suggestions for their improvement must be kept from them. The days when the Royal subjects are merely peasants who can't think for themselves and must have decisions made for them have surely passed. Haven't they? If Charles is going to stick his big nose in, he needs to do it with the same rights as any other citizen of Britain.
Jessie Hardy, Bermuda

As a resident of a country with free speech why shouldn't he have the entitlement? He's probably the only one not doing it for the money.
Dave Arnold, UK/USA


His opinions are bound to be out of touch with the 'real world'

Roger, England
Yes, Prince Charles, like everyone else is entitled to express his opinion. However, he has so little experience of the life that most Britons live, his opinions are bound to be out of touch with the real world.
Roger, England

Prince Charles, having no political role to play, is as entitled as anyone else in the country to tell the prime minister what he thinks. There were over 400,000 people in London on Sunday, expressing the same views as the prince on hunting and the rural way of life. I only hope that Tony Blair decides to listen to us, instead of throwing another sop to the class-warfare dinosaurs on his back benches. If not, then I for one will happily join Prince Charles in exile - and freedom.
John W, England

Charles has every right to voice his opinions. The British population should be indebted to the prince for the effort he applies and interest he shows. Apathy and a sickly sweet political correctness are eating the core of a once ¿great¿ Britain. At the moment democracy means putting a mark on a ballot paper once every four years and then suffering under the elected governments unilateral decisions thereafter. If Charles' opinions ruffle the feathers of the politicians, then Charles is doing a great job. Without criticism no progress could be made and quite frankly, progress isn't being made.
Sean Hammon, Belgium ex South Africa

 VOTE RESULTS
Should Prince Charles get involved in politics?

Yes
 64.83% 

No
 35.17% 

6798 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

25 Sep 02 | Politics
01 Jul 02 | England
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