The Daily Telegraph
Cameron gave practice on how to conduct PM meetings
‘From what I saw he will be brilliant at that job. Brilliant at listening, brilliant at asking questions, giving wise advice and sage counsel’
‘I think, critically, as the Queen did, any change in the way things are done would be done gradually and very carefully’
DAVID CAMERON has revealed he held audiences with King Charles while his mother was on the throne because the then Prince of Wales wanted to learn how they were carried out.
The former prime minister said that while he was in office, the meetings were held so the Prince could prepare for when he, as sovereign, would hold weekly sessions with the premier.
Mr Cameron, the prime minister from 2010 to 2016, told the BBC that he believed King Charles would make a “brilliant” monarch and a “very worthy successor” to the Queen.
Gordon Brown said King Charles would oversee a move towards a slimmed-down, more Scandinavianstyle monarchy.
“I think that what Prince Charles has already indicated is that the monarchy is going to be smaller,” he told the BBC’S Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.
“It’s going to be more like a Scandinavian monarchy in the future, but not in a bad way – more informal. He stopped as he entered Buckingham Palace and talked to people in the crowd, and that was a signal that he was sending that he wanted people to feel that he was approachable.”
Theresa May said: “If you look at the Royal family, they have been steadily evolving a different approach, a different way of doing things over time and I am sure King Charles will continue to take that forward.
“Of course, he is a different person and he may want to change things in some ways, but I think, critically, as the Queen did, any change in the way things are done would be done gradually and very carefully.”
The three former prime ministers made their comments in interviews with Laura Kuenssberg, which were broadcast yesterday.
Mr Cameron said: “I had audiences with Prince Charles when Queen Elizabeth II was on the throne because he wanted to start thinking about how to conduct those audiences.
“From what I saw he will be brilliant at that job.
“Brilliant at listening, brilliant at asking questions, giving wise advice and sage counsel.
“This has probably been the longest apprenticeship in history.”
He said that, like his mother, the new King was a “superb diplomat”, adding: “I saw him in action at Commonwealth heads of government meetings and he knows everybody personally, he interacts with them brilliantly.
“The soft power that the British monarch brings to help a prime minister and a government with all those international relations, it was obviously outstanding under Queen Elizabeth II.
“I think you will see Charles III will be a very worthy successor in that regard.” Mr Cameron described how he had to apologise to the Queen after revealing details of one of their private conversations.
Microphones picked up the then prime minister recounting how the Queen “purred” down the telephone when he informed her of the result of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
Mr Cameron said: “It was a very upfront and fulsome apology done very quickly at the beginning of an audience. I think that is all I should say.
“From ever onwards I have been more careful when cameras and microphones are around and I have learned my lesson.”
Asked if the Queen had told him off, Mr Cameron replied: “Obviously everything said at those meetings is entirely private.”
Mr Brown admitted he could be left “embarrassed” during meetings with the Queen, revealing the former monarch was often better informed about current affairs than he was.
He recalled how the Queen questioned “why have these bankers got it all wrong” in 2008, when the financial crash led to the UK entering recession.
The 71-year-old Mr Brown, who was prime minister between 2007 and 2010, told how Elizabeth II “actually knew better about what was happening to the country” than he did during his time in Number 10.
The former Labour leader said: “She would listen, she would ask questions.
“She would be endlessly knowledgeable about everything happening in the Commonwealth.
“I was very embarrassed one day because I went in to see her at six o’clock, I didn’t know that one of the Commonwealth leaders had been ousted and a new government had been formed.
“She was telling me what was happening when I was supposed to report to her.”
Mr Brown stressed that the Queen would “never impose her will” on the prime minister.
“This is the modern monarchy and I think she set the tone for what King Charles and the other monarchs will do,” he said.