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 891.

    We're being spun ladies and gentlemen. See how much media time is spent telling us how what "bladdy good chaps" William and Harry are. Then compare that with the non coverage of Andrew, Anne, Edward, Princess Adolph of Kent etc etc.

    While we are told to fawn over Diana's brats the rest of the Windsors are the truly idle rich. Every penny spent on Royalty is a penny stolen from the people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 890.


    Most of us adults want to delouse ourselves of BOTH ' royals ' and so called ' politicians '.

    For me 12 decision makers at the national level is ample.

    They would be subject to the populace, not some chinless wonder.

    250.000 votes on any subject triggers a referendum, including turfing out one of the above.

    If they are ok. Ten year terms to prevent short termism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 889.

    Prince Charles's great Uncle, Edward VIII, was forced to abdicate with Wallis Simpson being just the excuse; the real reason was that he cared about his land and people and in at least one case had publically said "Something must be done." The Powers That Be could not have that, especially since he was so popular. The same thing is happening again - but we can stop it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 888.

    So. Meanwhile in the news bitumen is found in the water from toxic drilling on my ancestor's land stolen property by the monrachy. The people then suffer and are dying from cancer. That's the news someone else wants over our needs. Fabulous

  • rate this

    Comment number 887.

    Why would we care if Charles Saxe Gotha doesn't want authority and wealth he has not earned?

  • rate this

    Comment number 886.

    We are talking about the same chap whos valet puts his toothpaste on his toothbrush for him aren't we ???..And some of you want him to be King..??..he cant even perform his own ablutions...amazed he hasn't applied for attendance allowance ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 885.

    I don't like the royals full stop. A privileged family at the workers expense, and I bet you won't post this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 884.

    I can't wait for this guy to be king. At least he has opinions ! Let's just hope he feels he can continue to express them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 883.

    Some people on this HYS seem to confuse "freedom of speech" with a right to be abusive. Those of you worried about "privilege and patronage" would be better looking up the road to the H of P where the "democratic mandate" you espouse is so richly displayed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 882.


    It's easy to do charitable work when you have £millions and a support network bending to your every whim.

  • rate this

    Comment number 881.

    I cannot claim to be a royalist but can see the good work Prince Charles has done and will hopefully continue to do.

    Certainly I'd trust him but do not trust any of our MPs!

  • rate this

    Comment number 880.

    They changes all the rules for him. Was a time when having had his disgusting affair with the woman he married the first moment his real wife was out of the way sticks in the craw. Delighted that the son of Diana one of two great lads - will be able to take up the thrown. If Charlie would indeed step out it would be good for England and the Monarchy

  • rate this

    Comment number 879.

    If being king is a prison then there's a long line of applicants waiting to get the job. Oh how sad for him all that paid leisure time and goodies for the taking and people bow to you! Beats being in the unemployment line anyday. I think I could suffer through it up there with the swells of the 1%. What sacrifices one has to make for one's country. It's a heavy job but someone has to do it. Argh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 878.

    556.Mr Wobblehead
    6 Hours ago
    Prison would be too good for him
    Oh dear we do have some dead wood making silly comments he probably done more good than you with various charitable work and with the young.
    It might be good enough for you though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 877.

    Does anybody really care ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 876.

    I have never understood people's love of the monarchy, not because of the character of the royals, but because the institution is an anachronism that guarantees privilege based on birth rather than merit.

    Charles has been shown to meddle in politics which goes against the very principles of the constitutional monarchy. If he keeps that up it could be very damaging to the monarchy, fatal perhaps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 875.

    What is the BBC? Some sort of royalist mouthpiece - how come my comment got banned? What happened to free speech in a democracy???

  • rate this

    Comment number 874.


  • rate this

    Comment number 873.

    I wish he becomes king.Only if the Queen makes him one.Is about time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 872.

    Prince Charles often dabbles in political issues and often has taken stances based only on his personal opinions and, at time prejudices, rather than the facts which he often refuses to let get in the way.

    He has in the past crossed the line with his influence. That he often supports just causes is often the case. As the monarch he has to be above politics and he can not have it both ways.


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