Helen Martin: Time to let the monarchy speak out

Prince Charles, pictured with Dame Ellen MacArthur, has spoken about his fears for the future of the albatross. Picture: AP
Prince Charles, pictured with Dame Ellen MacArthur, has spoken about his fears for the future of the albatross. Picture: AP
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PRINCE Charles is coming between me and my husband. I wouldn’t go as far as to say there are three of us in this marriage, but while I am all for the Prince expressing his views to government ministers, Himself feels there is something dark, duplicitous and undemocratic about HRH’s “Black Spider notes.”

Personally I admire Charles’s (may I call him Charles?) concern for the Patagonian Toothfish and the albatross, I’m proud he wrote protesting about British troops being ill-equipped (even though I didn’t think they should be in Iraq in the first place), I understand his fears that the huts used by Scott and Shackleton at the South Pole are not being protected and preserved, and I couldn’t agree more with him when he wrote, back in 2005, that the interests of farmers were in danger of being swept aside by the power of supermarkets. He was bang on. I totally disagree with him about widespread badger culls, but each to his own.

It would be a nonsense to have a future king who isn’t allowed to express himself, especially to Ministers who are big enough to ignore him if they choose. It’s not as if he’s Henry VIII and likely to have them beheaded if they refuse to go along with him.

We live in a world where the most intellectually challenged, uneducated, illogical, bigoted individuals have the power to share their “likes”, “tweets” and blogs with the world at large.

I find it inconceivable that anyone could object to a mature prince of the realm and king-in-waiting passing an opinion. Often he is unfairly ridiculed simply for being normal (apart from his status and riches, obviously). Years ago when he confessed to talking to plants, cartoonists and lampoonists went crazy. I talk to plants, my mother talked to plants. They are living things and they like carbon dioxide, so why not?

He believes in herbal and complementary medicine, as do great swathes of the British public, not to mention many doctors and pharmacists.

He doesn’t necessarily like the way schools teach certain subjects any more. And that he has in common with most folk over 50 who regard modern teaching methods as a waste of time and council tax.

Apparently the reason for all this kerfuffle is that Prince Charles’s “political neutrality” could be in doubt. If I was putting money on it, I’d guess Tory. But there’s a bit of Green in there, a wee bit of Labour, possibly a touch of UKIP, though I fear not a smidgeon of SNP, who knows – and who cares?

Are princes not allowed to feel 
passionately about their country, or is it right that they should be forbidden from taking part in any discussion lest they abuse their influence? The alternative to Charles’s way is that we endure some idiot, ageing playboy concerned with nothing other than his next polo match, so distant from the public that he couldn’t give a Royal rat’s tail what the people ate, how they were taught, whether or not they had a living wage or if they were sent into battle under-resourced.

I wouldn’t mind betting that neither Wills nor Harry see their futures that way either. The days of the proles being content with a silent monarch who waves from a golden carriage are over. If we’re going to have a monarchy, let’s hear it.