|Lithograph of the Black Prince (2nd left)|
Breathtaking, isn't it?
Nonetheless, ministers have been forced to seek the duke's permission on matters as far ranging as road safety, gambling, the Olympics, co-operative societies, economic development, housing, regeneration, energy and planning amongst others.
Whilst his mother technically has the right to interfere by "advising, encouraging and warning" on matters affecting her subjects, and a veto over matters that affect the royal family, it seems that HRH, has a secret right to demand changes to Bills if they get in the way of his private interests.
The information came to light as the result of a Freedom of Information demand by the Guardian. The government recently exempted official correspondence between ministers and the Queen, Charles and William, from FoI legislation (meaning that Charles could continue to summons ministers to discuss legislation without it becoming embarrassing). However, with their customary panache from messing up, clearly no one thought to include this "right" in that cover-up legislation, which, ironically, was unobtrusively tacked on to a Bill on openness in government!!!!
|Coinage of Edward, the Black Prince|
The legislation originates from Edward III when he created his son, the Black Prince, Duke of Cornwall and has been passed down since that time, seemingly without alteration. The Duchy provides Charles with £18 million a year of private income, quite separate from the money given to him by the state for royal duties and maintaining his wife.
The revelations have caused both MPs and Peers (although why the peers, I'm not sure) to protest and demand publication of details about how these powers have been used to interfere in legislation. Both the government and Charles' office is refusing to give any details of any changes that he has demanded. The Liberal MP for St Ives in Kernow, said that he was astonished to hear that Charles has a veto over government business, and a minister Lord Berkeley who was recently obliged to ask permission over a marine navigation bill, wondered why other landowners who would be affected by it should not have an equal say.
Charles has been accused on many occasions of poking his nose into government and meddling in the affairs of ministers. While some may think that a disastrously out of touch Cabinet might benefit from a little steering in the direction of the needs of the people, it's surely the constituency MPs who are supposed to do that. Not someone whose reality is so far removed from Mr Average as to be on a different planet and in a different time zone.