Prince Charles draws fire over letters to ministers: report

LONDON - Britain's Prince Charles, known for his strong views on architecture and the environment, has written to ministers in recent years, raising concern of royal meddling in government business, a report said Thursday.
The heir to the throne's advisers have separately pressed senior ministers to bring government policy into line with the prince's views, including on hospital building and the design of ecotowns, according to the Guardian.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles
The newspaper's report follows accusations of meddling by the prince earlier this year after he criticised a modern building planned in London which allegedly led to the project being scrapped.
The prince has written to ministers in eight departments including the Treasury, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the education department since 2006, according to the newspaper, citing documents.
However the departments have refused to release the contents of the letters from the prince, which the paper learned about under freedom of information laws.
"He has to be very careful to respect the traditional separation between the democratically accountable parts of the constitution and the ceremonial parts," said Chris Huhne, the opposition Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman.
"The Prince of Wales is entitled to ask about what is going on, but if he is urging a particular point of view then that's a different matter."
The prince's spokesman denied his aides had lobbied to stop the release of the letters and said the royal had a right to secrecy.
"It is generally accepted that the heir to the throne should be aware of the business of government and that correspondence between government ministers should be treated as private and confidential on all sides," a spokesman told the newspaper.
In June, a leading architect whose plans for a modern building were scrapped following criticism from Prince Charles, slammed his intervention as "totally unconstitutional."
The prince's strong views against modern architecture have caused controversy before, notably when he 25 years ago lambasted plans for a new wing of London's National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle".

Thursday, December 17th 2009

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