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”.

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