PRINCE Charles has been accused of “playing with fire” after he waded into a major political row about immigration, despite the Queen’s commitment to the Monarchy remaining politically impartial.
The Prince of Wales was reported to be “more than disappointed” by the Government’s policy to send migrants to Rwanda, with reports that he privately described the move as “appalling” not being denied by Clarence House.
Despite Britain’s Constitutional Monarchy supposedly being “above politics”, Charles’s comments have sparked a major row, just a week after the Monarchy was celebrated and given a breath of fresh air during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
His comments came after Home Secretary Priti Patel welcomed a High Court ruling paving the way for the first flight to the east African country to go ahead on Tuesday.
The Times of London reported that Charles is especially frustrated at the policy as he is set to represent the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the Rwandan capital later this month, but Rwanda has come out in defence of the scheme, arguing it is “well thought out” and should be given “a chance”.
Several people due to be sent to Rwanda as part of Ms Patel’s bid to curb Channel crossings, as well as campaign groups and a union, had asked judges to block their deportation flight.
Up to 130 people had been notified they could be removed, and on Friday the court in London heard that 31 people were due on the first flight, with the Home Office planning to schedule more this year.
The Times said a source had heard Charles express opposition to the policy several times in private, and that he was “more than disappointed” by it.
They were cited as saying: “He said he thinks the Government’s whole approach is appalling. It was clear he was not impressed with the Government’s direction of travel.”
Clarence House refused to comment on “supposed anonymous private conversations” with the prince, but stressed that he remains “politically neutral”.
Charles has been criticised in the past for his views on topics such as the environment and architecture but said he recognises being heir to the throne and head of state are two different roles.
In a BBC documentary to mark his 70th birthday in 2018, he said he would stop speaking out on issues when he became king, saying he was “not that stupid” to continue what some had termed as “meddling”.
The prince acknowledged he would not be “able to do the same things I’ve done as heir” and as monarch would have to operate within “constitutional parameters”.
Yolande Makolo, a spokesperson for the Rwandan government, told Sky News people should give the migration partnership “a chance”.
“It’s very well thought out, it’s going to be well-resourced, we’re determined to make this work, we have the experience, we’re building the capacity to do this properly,” she said.
“So everyone just needs to give this a chance to work. And we need to look at migration differently.
“I understand there’s a lot of excitement about this, but we also need to work together as global partners to make things right, to protect people, and to correct the imbalance in opportunities.”
Shortly after his ruling at the High Court, Mr Justice Swift granted the claimants permission to appeal, suggesting Court of Appeal judges would hear the case on Monday.
CHARLES’ COMMENTS PUT MONARCHY AT RISK
OUR Constitutional Monarchy is supposed to be “above politics” and the Monarch is supposed to remain “impartial” and “politically neutral” – this ensures it can swing into action when there is a constitutional crisis, future King Charles is proving he can’t resist putting his foot in it, and it could have dire consequences.
Failure for senior members of the Firm to remain constitutionally neutral can have devastating effects.
There have been only a few occasions in history that a ruling monarch has waded into politics. Most notably, in 1839, when Queen Victoria caused a political and royal crisis after the young Queen was seen to be siding with the Whig Party and Lord Melbourne after he resigned as Prime Minister and was replaced by Sir Robert Peel, a Tory.
The row dubbed the “bedchamber crisis” erupted after the young Queen refused to replace some of her all-Whig ladies in waiting with Tory ladies so that their allegiance to parties would be more neutral.
The Queen refused Peel’s request, and feeling like he had not been given the ‘royal seal of approval’, Peel refused the task of forming a new government and was replaced by the Queen’s preferred Lord Melbourne.
Protests are said to have taken place outside Buckingham Palace over the row and saw Queen Victoria’s and the Monarchy’s popularity slide significantly, though later recovered.
The other most notable political interference took place in 1986, when the Sunday Times published a front-page story with the headline “Queen dismayed by ‘uncaring’ Thatcher.”
The story claimed that the Queen believed Thatcher to be “uncaring, confrontational, and socially divisive.” Thatcher was said to be infuriated, and Buckingham Palace denied the story.
Buckingham Palace released a statement: “As with all previous prime ministers, the Queen enjoys a relationship of the closest confidentiality with Mrs Thatcher, and reports purporting to be the Queen’s opinion of government policies are entirely without foundation.”
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