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Court rules against gag on 'frank' letters from UK's Prince Charles

Published on Mar 12, 2014 9:58 PM
 
Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales leaves following the annual Commonwealth Observance service at Westminster Abbey in central London on March 10, 2014. The possible publication of potentially embarrassing letters written by British heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles moved a step closer on Wednesday, March 11, 2014, when a gagging order on them was declared unlawful by a court. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - The possible publication of potentially embarrassing letters written by British heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles moved a step closer on Wednesday when a gagging order on them was declared unlawful by a court.

The 27 letters were written by Charles to members of the previous Labour government and have been described by Attorney General Dominic Grieve as "particularly frank". The 65-year-old prince has long held strong views in areas like the environment and urban planning and has been criticised for apparently using his unelected position to persuade ministers to change official policies through private letters, nicknamed "black-spider memos" because of his scrawled handwriting.

Mr Grieve, the government's chief legal adviser, has blocked an attempt by the left-leaning Guardian newspaper to have the letters made public under freedom of information laws.

He has said that any perception that Prince Charles had disagreed with the previous government of Tony Blair "would be seriously damaging to his role as future monarch because, if he forfeits his position of political neutrality as heir to the throne, he cannot easily recover it when he is king".

 
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