The Prince of Wales sees himself as a saviour

February 1, 2015 8:09 pm

The Prince of ’ preparations for an activist monarchy have
prompted a backlash, as a new book revealed a dysfunctional and divided
court around him.
Someone who has worked closely with him said:
“He is dying to have his go with the train set. He does cause concern
with his outbursts. He’ll struggle to restrain himself.”
The book, Charles, The Heart of a King,
by Catherine Mayer, claims he is a tortured individual who endures
moments of “extreme despondency” and feels guilty about his privileged
upbringing.
It says the Prince’s court at Clarence House is riven by Wolf Hall-style intrigue and divisions. Wolf Hall
is a book and TV series set in the court of Henry VIII. Mayer writes
that Charles often creates unnecessary turf wars between courtiers by
failing to set clear boundaries.

Constitutional experts fear Prince Charles could provoke a political crisis. Photo / AP

The Prince has stepped up the
number of meetings with ministers and civil servants recently, partly in
recognition of the Queen’s advancing age.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on whether
his “black spider” letters to ministers should be published. But some
observers are concerned he is pushing for a more active role in national
life even before he succeeds to the throne. Someone with close links to
the Palace said: “It is no accident that he writes all those letters to
ministers. He does see himself as a kind of saviour of the nation,
someone who can mend the broken country. Some might see that as
presumptuously messianic.”
Another said: “He tends to dash off
his letters without a great deal of consideration. He is far too
energetic for his own good.”
Constitutional experts are concerned
that he could provoke a political crisis, especially if he were to
become involved in discussions in a hung Parliament after an election.
Civil servants have had discussions about the transition to a new
monarch, and are believed to have touched on the sensitive question of
what should happen if the Queen’s health fails.
The Fixed-Term
Parliament Act has removed virtually all the remaining elements of royal
prerogative in the event of a hung Parliament but there is some anxiety
that the Prince is less likely than his mother to be a largely passive
onlooker.
A senior official said: “He does seem more difficult to
deal with the older he gets. The age of smooth relations between the
Palace and politicians, when they were all of roughly the same milieu,
is not as it was.”
The Prince has let it be known that he hopes
other religions will be included when he accedes the throne, and over
the weekend stories have emerged suggesting he wants to modernise the
honours system. Jonathan Dimbleby, the Prince’s biographer, commented a
year ago: “A quiet constitutional revolution is afoot … I predict he
will go well beyond what any previous constitutional monarch has ever
essayed.”
He is also understood to support the case for
proportional representation in Westminster elections and he opposes the
Human Rights Act. Whether he would keep his counsel on such issues is
debatable at best.
Mayer – who spent six months talking to the
Prince and more than 50 friends, confidantes and staff – describes
someone who is determined he will “never be remote and silent like his
mother” and who is driven to make life better for people. She quotes him
as saying: “I want to raise aspirations and recreate hope from
hopelessness and health from deprivation.”
Joe Little, the
managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: “The divisions within
Clarence House have been common knowledge for several years. His temper
tantrums have been well documented. The reign of King Charles III will
be very different to that of his mother. The Queen has very much
followed in her father’s footsteps and steered clear of controversy.
[Charles] has a different agenda and will not be the ‘silent’ monarch
that some Establishment figures think he should be. People can be in no
doubt that the Prince of Wales cares about the Commonwealth, the
environment and many other components of 21st century life, so any
‘meddling’ that he might do is done for the best possible reasons.”
Penny
Junor, the royal biographer, said: “I wouldn’t say he feels guilty
about his upbringing or privilege, but he is very big-hearted and has a
clear idea of what he feels he can do … If he has got good people
round him – and I think he does – he could achieve great things.”

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