Prince Charles' Black Spider Letters Published

Prince Charles

After years of battling the government, the private letters sent by the Prince of Wales to Labour government ministers a decade ago have been published finally.  The papers were hailed by Catherine Mayer, who has written an unofficial biography of Prince Charles, said the prince ''felt passionately'' about the issues he wrote about. The topics of the letters actually varied, from heavy issues like the Prince’s fear about the British air force’s readiness during the campaign in Iraq, to lighter issues, such as the prince’s pet project.

Twenty seven notes contained 'full and frank' expression of Prince's 'most deeply-held views' on farming, bovine TB, alternative medicine and housing. 

A letter sent to Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair in September 2004 found the prince express his concern about the Army Air Corps' capacity to send equipment. In fact, the Prince was "frustrated by the poor performance of the existing Lynx aircraft in high temperatures" as the Armed Forces “are being asked to do an extremely challenging job (particularly in Iraq) without the necessary resources.”

Another letter in February 2005 to PM Blair read that "dominant" retailers were the "single biggest issue affecting British farmers and the food chain."

In 2004, the heir to the throne also criticized the country’s modern teaching methods and highlighted the virtues of his Summer Schools as he wrote to Education Secretary Charles Clarke.

The letters also touched on issues close to the prince’s heart, most importantly, natural medicine and environment.

In February 2005, he sent a letter to Blair informing him, of his support to 'alternative' medicines, writing about a regulation that limit practitioners as being like 'using a sledgehammer to crack a nut'
The prince also wrote to Environment Minister Elliot Morley in October 2004 to air his concern about illegal fishing of the Patagonian toothfish

A 2005 communiqué saw the Prince write about a rather ironic comment that he was already reluctant to write about issues in his mind because of the Freedom of Information Act
And another letter to Health Secretary John Reid in February 2005 shared his concerns about the future of hospitals while at the same time commenting that he was “at risk of being a complete bore.”

It took years before the prince’s letters were made public following a government veto on publication that was overturned by the Court of Appeal last year and supported by the Supreme Court in March.

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