Seven years ago Prince Charles wrote a series of letters to various government departments. A 'Guardian' journalist thinks he has the right to read them.
It is only a month since the controversy over topless photographs of his daughter-in-law was hogging the headlines. Now Prince Charles is himself the subject of media attention for the wrong reasons. No, he hasn't been photographed getting his kit off, thankfully, instead, somebody wants to publish, or at least read, his private correspondence. That somebody is a journalist from the Guardian, a newspaper that likes to see itself as the Islington Set's answer to the Times, notwithstanding the lies it has peddled over the years concerning Linda Carty and Satpal Ram to name but two.
Charles is said to have written a series of letters to a number of government departments between September 2004 and March 2005, apparently all, or most of them, by hand. Rob Johnson has been trying to get his hands on these letters via a freedom of information request, which was refused by the Information Commissioner then reversed on appeal.
At this point, Attorney General Dominic Grieve stepped in and blocked their release; now the Guardian is whining about the reversal. Charles has been accused of lobbying the government - that is the polite version.
The Heir to the Throne is known to be a man of strong opinions - including on architecture and environmentalism. The fact that he is who he is does not mean he has no right to make his opinions known, either to ministers or anyone else. We all have the right to lobby the government; at times the government actually solicits our opinions through public consultations. If Charles had been paid by a corporation or a firm of lobbyists, that would be a different matter, but as a private individual in spite of his somewhat exalted office, he has the right to see his correspondence treated with the same confidentiality as anyone else.
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