About Majesty
Current Issue
Editor's Letter


he Prince of Wales is no stranger to controversy and indeed welcomes it – as long as it is on his terms. The publication of an unauthorised book claiming he will be an ‘activist’ king irritated him and he authorised his principal private secretary, Sir William Nye, to write to the Times newspaper to clarify the situation. Nye disputed the author’s claims that the Prince might try and redefine the monarchy when he eventually becomes king.

   ‘After half a century in public life, few could be better placed than His Royal Highness to understand the necessary and proper limitations on the role of a constitutional monarch,’ Nye wrote. ‘The Prince of Wales will be inspired by the examples of his mother and grandfather, while drawing on his own experience of a lifetime in service.’

   Of course the Prince will do things differently. When the Queen came to the throne at the age of 25 she was a young girl whose only experience of the machinations of monarchy were some lessons in constitutional history and the things her father had told her.

   In the BBC documentary Elizabeth R, the Queen admitted she had never had an ‘apprenticeship’ for what she calls her job for life. King George VI died much too young and the job was suddenly thrust upon her. She had to make the best of it and acknowledged it was a question of maturing into it. Charles has had the longest apprenticeship of any heir to the British throne.

   The Prince knows that once he is king he will not be able to express his opinions openly. During his Middle East trip in February, when he met heads of state including Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman and King Abdullah of Jordan, he managed to achieve more than any politician has done. The Prince used his visit to express his views on many vital topics, not least the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’.

   In an interview aired on BBC’s Sunday Hour Charles spoke of his hopes to ‘build bridges’ between different faiths and of his ‘deep concern’ for the suffering of Christian churches in the Middle East.

   The Prince took the opportunity to remind us that his statement of 20 years ago about being Defender of Faiths had been ‘misinterpreted’. The Church of England’s role was not to defend Anglicism to the exclusion of other religions, he said, but to protect the free practice of all faiths.

   The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George were recently wallowing in luxury on the island of Mustique as guests of the Middleton family. The exclusive little island can enforce a ‘no-fly’ zone to protect residents and guests from the drones and aircraft that might otherwise buzz overhead, but their privacy can still be invaded.

   When Prince Andrew and his then girlfriend Koo Stark holidayed there after the Falklands War they couldn’t venture outside and their trip was spoiled. Thirty years later the problem remains: William, Kate and their party were photographed from a boat offshore. Editors in the UK rarely use such images, however, for fear of legal recriminations.

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