UK court upholds disclosure of Prince Charles’ letters
Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince Charles expressed dismay Thursday at a Supreme Court ruling that paves the way for the publication of Charles’ private letters to government ministers.
A spokesman for Charles said “Clarence House is disappointed the principle of privacy has not been upheld.”
The case involves 27 letters Charles wrote to seven government departments ten years ago. Known as “black spider” letters, they are believed to contain strong personal views.
Critics have charged that Charles has become too involved in advocating positions. He is first in line for the throne, and is expected to remain politically neutral. In the past he has expressed strong views on architecture, climate change, genetically modified foods, and other matters. The government has long tried to block the release of the letters, but the Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling backing their publication.
Cameron said the government will now consider how to release the documents, which have been sought by the Guardian newspaper under freedom of information rules for roughly a decade.
The prime minister said the case was about “the principle that senior members of the royal family are able to express their views to government confidentially. I think most people would agree this is fair enough.”
The timetable for the release of the letters is not yet clear. The Guardian’s chief editor, Alan Rusbridger, said editors are “delighted” with the decision.
“The government wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to cover up these letters, admitting their publication would ‘seriously damage’ perceptions of the prince’s political neutrality,” he said. “Now they must publish them so that the public can make their own judgment.”