Prince Charles 'prison' claim denied

Prince of Wales on Time magazine cover The Prince of Wales spoke about his hopes and fears for the future

Related Stories

Clarence House has denied reports that the Prince of Wales believes becoming king will be a form of prison.

A report in Time magazine quoted an unnamed official saying how Prince Charles is worried he will not achieve ambitions linked to his interests before "the prison shades" close.

Time spoke to 50 of the prince's friends and associates for the article.

It is not known whether the widely reported comment was made by a current or former member of royal staff.

A Clarence House spokesman said: "This is not the Prince of Wales's view and should not be attributed to him as he did not say these words.

"The prince has dutifully supported the Queen all his life and his official duties and charitable work have always run in parallel."

'Lack of time'

Catherine Mayer, who wrote the article for Time magazine, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "part of a quote" had been "taken out of context" by other news organisations.

"The thing that I find funny about that is, of course, one of the reasons I wanted to profile the prince is that I thought there was an extraordinary gap between who he was and what he did and how he was portrayed... in the British press.

"So, to see some of what I hoped was sort of balanced and carefully calibrated somewhat sexed up doesn't surprise me at all."

She said the term "prison shades" referred to concern among the prince's household that now the prince was taking on more of the Queen's duties "there's a big impact on what the Prince of Wales actually does already, in terms of time, so the reference was to his dwindling lack of time".

She added: "He is absolutely not saying he doesn't want to be king and nobody in his household is saying that."

For decades, as heir to the throne, the Prince of Wales has founded charities and spoken out on many issues.

In the coming years, he will have to do more of his mother's work as she, now 87, does less. Next month, he will represent the Queen at a Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Sri Lanka.

Start Quote

The public image of him as a man who has sat there sort of cantankerously waiting for his mother to pop off so he can become king is about as far from the truth as it's possible to imagine”

End Quote Catherine Mayer Journalist

The Time profile said the prince took on extra royal duties "joylessly" and, far from "itching to assume the crown", he was already feeling its weight and worrying about its impact on his current role.

Prince Charles, who does not comment on his accession, was quoted as saying he had always had this "extraordinary feeling" of "wanting to heal and make things better".

Ms Mayer told Today that "the public image of him as a man who has sat there sort of cantankerously waiting for his mother to pop off so he can become king is about as far from the truth as it's possible to imagine".

In the article, Ms Mayer said the prince sat down with the magazine "to discuss his hopes - and profound concerns - for the future".

'Activist monarch'

But anti-monarchy campaigners dismissed his comments as "self-obsessed and self-pitying".

Graham Smith, chief executive of the Republic pressure group called on the prince to "renounce his claim to the throne", adding: "If Charles wants to get involved in politics, he should do so on the same terms as everyone else."

He claimed the prince's contribution to the article was designed to prepare the British public for a more "activist monarch".

Prince Charles has been criticised for writing to and meeting government ministers in secret to give his opinion on various policy matters.

The interview was published as official photographs for the christening of Prince George were released.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 351.

    Oh, so it transpires now that he didn't say he didn't want to be King.

    Thank goodness we have a free press who can be relied upon to report the news fairly and without an intention to mislead. Or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 350.

    For the past 25 years I have lived outside UK and travelled the world. It is amazing how interested and informed people are about the British royal family. From 'republican' France to Thailand, you only have to say you are English for locals to start discussing the latest situation. They do represent the country and lift Britain out of the anonymity created by a succession of corrupt presidents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 349.

    Mercurius 23

    Hark at all the plebs! Mean spirited, small minded, bigoted lot!... You moan about this man, yet he is not afraid to speak out about issues that are of vital importance, not for us, but for those that come after us"

    Just remind me of those issues will you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    Y is thair not a black 1 in da kristnin fotos? Is dey been racist innit?

  • rate this

    Comment number 347.


    A dentist raising a child to be a dentist will probably raise quite a good dentist.

    same goes for Charles. No one is forcing him to be king, but he'd make a far better king than some bloke that grew up on a council estate with a new dad every 6 weeks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 346.

    Moan, moan, groan and moan. That's all I've ever heard The "Prince of Wales" do. Moaning now about his so-called "prison". He might claim to "know" a thing about living in the "real "world but chuck him at a proper job for a year and then lets hear him moan good and proper. There is moaning that you haven't enough money to turn the heating on and there is moaning because you're a spoilt ignoramus.

  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    So the tax dodging Prince Charles compares his extremely privileged life as a member of the Royal family and 'future king' with prison. Awe diddums. You didn't earn your billionaire lifestyle Charlie it was handed to you on a 24 Carat gold platter. As for his green credentials don't make me laugh, the man swans about all over the world on his private jet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 344.

    I think Charles has done more than anyone to make the royal family acceptable to people like me who are not naturally pro monarchy. Infact if all royals where like him I would be pro monarchy. From encouraging interfaith dialogue, the environment and the Prince's Trust, he has always been thoughtful, ambitious and modest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 343.

    I've always felt Charles is making the most of the fact he is not King while he still can, becasue he knows he cannot express political views when he is King. I'd like his money but not if it came with all the strings attached the royals have to put up with.

  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    Can you buy toilet paper with pictures of royalty on each sheet?
    If not, hands-off - I thought of it first; any dragons out there interested?

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.

    Hark at all the plebs! Mean spirited, small minded, bigoted lot! Who do you trust these days? Politicians....err, No. The police.....err, I don't think so. Bankers....definitely not, faceless corporations...uh oh. You moan about this man, yet he is not afraid to speak out about issues that are of vital importance, not for us, but for those that come after us. Long Live the King!

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    Would the anti-democrats please educate us all on how, exactly, elevating one person above everyone else solely by birth inspires anyone ?

    It's a system that by it's very nature does the opposite.

    Historically it was stated ' that everyone should know their place.'

    How does a person know what their ' place ' is.

    Should florists only parent florists ? Dentists raise dentists ?


  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    I like Charles & Camilla but none of this is news; He's always been anxious about not being able to speak out on things that worry him when king in case he treads on politicians' toes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    Bit of advice to the royalist's on here.
    You can get up off your knees now!
    A lifetime of bowing and tugging your collective forelocks will not get you any invites to the next garden party.
    As a bloke once said "you have nothing to lose but you chains"!!
    Time to wake up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    This is just another ploy to discredit our royals who do so much for this country.
    Charles will make a great king

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    Charles will not be king. The foundations have been laid for William to take the throne. In fact, I may even go and place a bet on this prediction. A lot of media attention has been on William & Kate the past few years which feels Almost like a PR campaign. I've come to learn that the media are a tool used to engineer the masses into a certain way of thinking. Royalty should not exist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    For the sake of the Monarchy, Prince Charles needs to carry on the good work he is doing and hand the crown to Prince William when the queen passes away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    I agree with"Time". Prince charles is alone among the Royals in concering himself with the future of the world for future generations and his Princes Trust which has done more good than any govnmt funded initiative for the young. To me,he redeems of the Royal family.

    Becoming merely king with all its ritual trappings would probably bore him beyond belief.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    When Elizabeth II dies, the sheer absurdity and injustice of this ossified insitution will rapidly begin to be seen as emphatically unfair, nonsensical and incompatible with the period of time we are moving through.

    Her death will be a signal to countries like Canada and Australia to embrace republicanism. And I also believe it will turn the tide in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    Another day, another BBC sycophantic royal related news story. I deeply resent that I pay a tv licence to an organisation that is holds such a positive bias to an institution that many people in this country would gladly remove. Focus on the important news and leave this rubbish to the tabloid papers please.


Page 28 of 45


More UK stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.