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 791.

    Charles, like any other of the royals, can legally renounce all the titles and royal flim-flam, but he won't , as he believes that inherited privilege is his birthright.

  • rate this

    Comment number 790.

    Poor , poor Charles. He has such a terrible burden to bare. I hope he pulls through, the poor millionaire....tut...tut.........what a shame.......chin brave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 789.

    782. Jack Napier


    1. Because was complicit in the breakup of the marriage of Charles and Dianna.

    2. She is divorced with an ex-husband still living. "Did you know my ex-wife is now queen?"

    I know things have moved on from 1936, but the lessons of the Abdication Crisis were well learned!

    Camilla is not fit to be Queen. Charles is not fit to be King.

  • rate this

    Comment number 788.

    16. blefuscu

    I don't know who or what nationality you are but we are not a 3rd rate country.
    True we may have a Ruritanian police service and true we have some off the wall MPs but we still have patriots who believe in the UK, the rule of law, and our way of governance despite its faults. Sneer all you like, I will hold my head up high on the 11th November and say that I am glad to be British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 787.

    @782.Jack Napier

    '...reeks to me of illogical snobbery'

    You're absolutely right of course...but then where would the monarchy be without it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 786.

    I can see what he's getting at.

    His life will not be his own the moment he accedes. From that time on, his diary will be filled with engagements that will shackle his existence as a free-thinking individual. I do hope, however, that he will continue to voice his strongly-held beliefs in a world that still cares little or nothing about the environment or the welfare of future generations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 785.

    Novus Ordo Seclorum = "prison shades" indeed for Charles.

    He knows it even if he didn't say it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 784.

    @781 Fr Ted

    Basically,that's what I meant - that she will not be queen Camilla. The niceties of "consort" or "queen consort" don't particularly concern me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 783.

    #777 Perhaps this individual popped into the public library for their free half hour on their way to the food bank...

  • rate this

    Comment number 782.


    I pray we never have a Queen Camilla!


    Why ?

    What makes her less qualified than the current monarch, at least Camilla 's actually spent part of her life in the real world away from the royal bubble & she probably has more British blood in veins than the Queen.

    The whole anti-Camilla thing reeks to me of illogical snobbery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 781.

    766. The March Hare

    Why do so many people think that Camilla will be a queen ? - she won't.It doesn't work like that.Phillip isn't king,Albert wasn't king.She will just be "consort".


    Oh dear. Let me try and help

    The husband of a Queen Regnant (a reigning monarch) is made a Prince Consort

    The wife of a King (a reigning monarch) is made a Queen Consort

    I pray we never have a Queen Camilla!

  • rate this

    Comment number 780.

    Really in today's world there really shouldn't even exist such an 'opening'!

  • rate this

    Comment number 779.

    He`s not going to be king, defender of the faiths? I dont think so!

  • rate this

    Comment number 778.

    In a modern democracy journalists should not grovel and royals should not enjoy privileged access to ministers. Charles is a simpleton who cannot be expected to realise how inappropriate his meddling is, so it is up to ministers and civil servants to have a bit of backbone in telling him to back off, and for journalists to start investigating his correspondance to make sure they're doing so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 777.

    13. Franksol

    Taking food from a foodbank but access to the internet to comment on HYS?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 776.

    DIDDLEYPETE,, People on welfare probably do not live luxury lifestyles. Your royal friends are happy to sit back and let everyone fund them regardless of status. They have lived their lifestyles on our backs for years but as most of these posts show the tide is turning. If your happy to fund them that's up to you. You become Charles servant if you want. It's just i don't see why i should fund them

  • rate this

    Comment number 775.

    #772 He can probably afford a cracking human rights lawyer to enforce his rights under article 19. I hope he does.

  • rate this

    Comment number 774.

    He's always whining. He's enjoyed over 60 years of vast wealth, multiple luxury homes, servants catering to his every whim, the best medical care, the best food, the best education, the best seats at events, luxury holidays, access to the influential, people fawning over him. He never has to worry about a job, queuing for medical treatment or the heating bill, etc. Get rid of the lot of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 773.

    It made me laugh how all of the editor's picks are pro-Royal fawning, with one negative comment thrown in for the appearance of balance.

    The BBC is little more than a propaganda machine for the status quo.

    And the status quo is screwing the vast majority of this country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 772.

    People on here seem to have a worryingly tenuous grasp of what a constitutional monarchy is. A hypothetical King Charles III will not be allowed to publicly voice his opinions and seek to influence the government of the day. For Christ's sake, people - I don't care if you 'usually agree' with his reactionary drivel ... was the 1688 Glorious Revolution all in vain?


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