Charles promises not to meddle when king
In a rare statement defining his future role, the Prince of Wales says he ‘’is not that stupid’’, vowing to change his ways and not be a meddling king.
Charles has spent a lifetime as heir being sharply critically of architectural styles and environmental issues and penning letters to ministers, but said he realises that being king is different and that he will have to adopt a different style.
His comments were made in a BBC documentary for his 70th birthday, Prince, Son & Heir — Charles at 70.
Asked whether his public campaigning would continue, he said: “No, it won’t. I’m not that stupid.
“I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So of course I understand entirely how that should operate.”
Charles said if he were king, he would have to operate within the constitutional parameters as a monarch.
When it was suggested to him that some people accused him of meddling, he laughed and said: “Really? You don’t say!
“I always wonder what meddling is. I mean I always thought it was motivating, but I’ve always been intrigued: if its meddling to worry about the inner-cities as I did 40 years ago and what was happening or not happening there, the conditions in which people were living … If that’s meddling, I’m very proud of it.
“I’ve tried to make sure whatever I’ve done has been non-party political. But I think it’s vital to remember there’s only room for one sovereign at a time, not two.
“So you can’t be the same as the sovereign if you’re the prince of Wales or the heir.
“The idea somehow that I’m going to go on exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense because the two situations are completely different.”
Charles referenced Shakespeare’s Henry the V, and Henry the IV Part I and II and how Shakespeare’s wild Prince Harry evolves into a mature leader, leading his outnumbered army into battle and beating the French at Agincourt.
He said: “You only have to look at Shakespeare plays, Henry the V or Henry the V Part I and II, to see the change that can take place be- cause if you become the sovereign, then you play the role in the way that it is expected.
“Clearly I won’t be able to do the same things I’ve done, you know, as heir, so of course you operate within the constitutional parameters. But it’s a different function.
“I think people have forgotten that the two are very different.”
Charles said he would have to have the agreement of parliament if he wanted to convene experts to- gether on an issue. The Duchess of Cornwall told the documentary that her husband was inpatient to get things done.
“He wants things done by yesterday, as I think everybody who works for him will tell you. But that’s how he gets things done — he’s driven by this … passion inside him to really help. He would like to save the world.”
She said Charles was not burdened by his future role.
“I think his destiny will come, he’s always known it’s going to come and I don’t think it does weigh on his shoulders at all.
“It’s just something that’s going to happen,” she said.
The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex were also interviewed in the program. Prince William said his father was “brilliant’’ when he visited his grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, adding “We need him there as much as possible”.