I write to min­is­ters just like my dad, says Wills

Daily Mail - - News - By Re­becca English Royal Cor­re­spon­dent

PRINCE Wil­liam has ad­mit­ted he is fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his fa­ther Prince Charles by writ­ing to Govern­ment min­is­ters.

But the fu­ture king in­sists that he doesn’t ‘lobby’ them and in­stead writes ‘purely to point them to­wards peo­ple I think they should see’.

In a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view with Tony Blair’s no­to­ri­ous former spin doc­tor, Alas­tair Camp­bell, for GQ mag­a­zine, ex­tracts of which have been re­leased, Wil­liam ad­mits he is in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics and can feel ‘frus­trated’ by the con­straints his po­si­tion places on him.

Prince Charles has been re­peat­edly ac­cused of ‘med­dling’ in af­fairs of state with his so-called ‘black spi­der memos’, so-called be­cause of his scrawled hand­writ­ing. Camp­bell said to Prince Wil­liam: ‘I do re­mem­ber when your fa­ther’s let­ters used to come into no 10. Will you go down that route, with his very frank let­ters to min­is­ters?’

Prince Wil­liam replied, laugh­ing: ‘Could you read them?’ But he ad­mit­ted that he had started to do the same. He said: ‘I have writ­ten to min­is­ters but purely to point them to­wards peo­ple I think they should see.

‘So a char­ity might ask me if I can help with some­one and I can help get them ac­cess to the peo­ple in Govern­ment ... There are is­sues I am in­ter­ested in and I am happy to con­nect peo­ple to min­is­ters.’

When Camp­bell asked if he was ‘per­haps not as ro­bust as your fa­ther’, Wil­liam replied: ‘ My fa­ther has al­ways come at this from a depth of knowl­edge and a de­sire to help. He only gets in­volved in any­thing when he has those two things: knowl­edge matched to a de­sire to help. He gen­uinely cares.

‘We can ar­gue till the cows come home about whether what he says is right or wrong, but he lives this stuff ev­ery day, goes into minute de­tail, wants to help in­form opin­ion and pro­vide knowl­edge. I would love to know what the pub­lic re­ally think, whether they feel shocked or pleased he gets in­volved.

‘He has done this for a long, long time, and I think he has used his role re­ally well to raise a lot of ques­tions that peo­ple need to ask.’

A ten- year bat­tle us­ing Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion laws to un­cover the ex­tent of Charles’s ‘lob­by­ing’ of min­is­ters re­vealed that he wrote to Mr Blair to protest about ille­quipped Bri­tish troops be­ing em­ployed to Iraq and to other min­is­ters on is­sues as di­verse as farming, the en­vi­ron­ment, home­o­pathic reme­dies – and even the plight of the Patag­o­nian Tooth­fish.

His crit­ics say that his re­peated in­ter­ven­tions in pub­lic pol­icy have made him the coun­try’s ‘most in­flu­en­tial lob­by­ist’ and un­fit to be­come king, but his sup­port­ers in­sist he is a good man who cares about the coun­try and its cit­i­zens and fully un­der­stands that when he ac­cedes to the throne, his in­ter­ven­tions will have to stop.

Prince Wil­liam also speaks in the in­ter­view for the first time about the mo­ment he walked be­hind his mother’s cof­fin at her fu­neral, de­scrib­ing it as the ‘hard­est thing I have ever done’.

He claims that he and his brother were un­aware of the out­pour­ing of grief across the na­tion, say­ing: ‘All I cared about was that I had lost my mum.’ In the full in­ter­view, avail­able from to­day, Wil­liam says the trauma of los­ing his mother is still some­thing that haunts him to­day, al­though he has never sought pro­fes­sional help, like his brother Prince Harry, and in­stead prefers to talk to fam­ily and friends.

He says: ‘If I had men­tal health is­sues I would hap­pily talk about them.

‘I think the clos­est I got was the trauma I suf­fered when I lost my mother, the scale of the grief, and I still haven’t nec­es­sar­ily dealt with that grief as well as I could have done over the years. I find talk­ing about my mother and keep­ing her mem­ory alive very im­por­tant. I find it therapeutic to talk about her, and to talk about how I feel.

‘I have never felt de­pressed in the way I un­der­stand it, but I have felt in­cred­i­bly sad. And I feel the trauma of that day has lived with me for 20 years, like a weight.

‘But I would not say that has led me to de­pres­sion. I still want to get up in the morn­ing, I want to do stuff, I still feel I can func­tion. Be­lieve me, at times it has felt like it would break me, but I have felt I have learned to man­age it and I’ve talked about it.’

Let­ters: Charles and Wil­liam

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