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

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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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    If Charles did air this "prison" view i am not surprised. He is an honest man. I believe though, that he will make a great King and Camilla a great Queen. I do not envy any aspect of the lives they will be expected to lead in those roles. This country should count it's blessings that we have such people to moderate politics and stand by their duties as an example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    It is astonishing how passive the British people are; that in the midst of the worst economic crisis in living memory, they have not and are nto demanding cuts to the Monarchy. What is more, that the Government itself daren't touch this bauble, but gladly savage the NHS and other vital public utilities.

    Surely a comment on the tragically misplaced priorities of this nation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.

    I wonder if he was commenting on all of the facilities and comforts that prisoners get in our prisons when he made his comment?

  • rate this

    Comment number 548.

    "seriously debating fundamental constitutional issues and rights"

    Which would be what exactly? The right to vote every 5 years for some rich plonker who only cares about increasing their wealth?

    The monarchy at least cares a bit about the country, politicians only care for power and money.

  • Comment number 547.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 546.

    If you don't like the monarchy, or a head of state, or anything, this is a democracy so lobby parliament for a change. You just have to convince the country and then bob's your uncle. There is no plot or 'supreme toff' stopping you. Then you can have Livingstonr, Bliar and Cherie, or Alan Carr or no-one. I fancy Alan Carr (to be king I mean!! - or queen).

  • rate this

    Comment number 545.

    @ 526: Actually closer to £200M :

    Lol, you use a republican website to try & substantiate republican propoganda..... amazing........ you havnt really got the hang of this have you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 544.

    a form of prison, indeed!!!! he should count himself lucky hes not an ordinary pleb. what a cheek!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 543.

    Monarchy in a democracy?
    God take our failing Queen!
    Don’t need a sovereign
    ’s twenty thirteen
    It’s not a fairy tale
    England is bleak and pale
    Lording it over us
    Don’t need a Queen!

  • rate this

    Comment number 542.

    If Charles is worried that the job of King will cramp his style, then he should step back out of line of succession and let William take on the mantle of King. That would leave him free to do and say what he wishes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 541.



    I am a royalist

    That dose not mean I am a worker drone

    Our monarchy must modernise < it we took most of the money spent on them, we could re-hire the 6,000 sacked nurse etc...

    They are out of touch

    The crown budget dose not include, royal residence maintenance, schooling, military security, travel etc... for the whole family so it still costs £130+m

  • rate this

    Comment number 540.

    Never used to think much of Prince Charles, but warmed to him.

    Media perception of his is very negative but it's obvious with all the humanitarian work he does he actually gives a dam

  • rate this

    Comment number 539.

    I cant believe this non story gossip is the main topic for HYS while the the quite laughable antics of the unions at Grangemouth, Peter Mandleson's typically disgusting political PR games and positive economic news are ignored. Just another example of the left wing bias on here

  • rate this

    Comment number 538.

    I often wonder why someone can rule a country purely on the strength of an inherited priveliged background, and the right connections rather than the vote of the majority of the electorate. And then I ask myself the same question about the monarchy without conclusion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 537.

    Whom can the Royals trust? There are camera phones everywhere as Prince Harry can confirm and, perhaps worse, a throw- away Royal remark can be repeated out of context and exaggerated then turned into headline news on a slow news day.
    Looks to me like a prison for all of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 536.

    Just scrap the monarchy now. The amount we spend lining the pockets of these spongers would be much better spent improving the NHS, benefits system and improving conditions for asylum seekers and other people suffering in our so called modern society.

  • rate this

    Comment number 535.

    I know I will get disparaged for this but I say it with complete earnest. I consider myself to be a free and logically thinking person and I have dwelt on this subject for a long time now - I just can not understand why, in the 21st century, we still have a monarchical system. I absolutely understand that royalty do not ask to be born privileged but it defeats all notion of equality and justice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    Hope he does become King someday, when I go to England games, I will proudly sing God Save Our King!

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    Assest sequestration and jail is appropriate for them all!

  • rate this

    Comment number 532.

    @ 526: Actually closer to £200M :


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