The Times: Prince Charles' Role to increase
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 17 January 2006
According to The Times, London, 16 January, 2006:

Prince Charles will hold more regular audiences with the Prime Minister as part of a review of his duties, while the Queen prepares to scale back her public engagements as her 80th birthday approaches.

The report says that the Palace is considering giving the Prince more access to government papers, and is to allow him to preside over more investitures, meet more foreign dignitaries and take the place of the Queen in welcoming ambassadors at the Court of St James’s. The Queen, whose 80th birthday is on 21 April, and the Duke of Edinburgh, who will be 85 in June, will spend more time at Windsor, reports The Times.

The newpaper says that Prince Charles, who held two private audiences with Prime Minister Tony Blair last year, will relish more meetings with ministers, to whom he writes regularly on a range of issues.

The Times says that The Queen will maintain her weekly audience with the Prime Minister.

According to the newspaper, under Mr Blair, this meeting has for the first time occasionally taken place by telephone! This would have surprised Mr. Blair's predecessors, including those in office after the invention of the telephone.

Mr. Blair at times is said not to observe appropriate protocol. When he announced his unwise decision to abolish the ancient office of Lord Chancellor, which he subsequently had to abandon, it is said that the first the Palace heard of this was when they read it in the papers! Perhaps if he had spoken to The Queen first, her advice might have made him pause until he was properly advised.

The Sovereign, with her long experience, and her respect for the confidentiality of the occasion,is not only a constitutional check and balance. Her Majesty is also a valuable resource which only an unwise Prime Minister, including those of the Realms , would not take the opportunity to receive.

The Times reports that Her Majesty will also preside on occasions such as Trooping the Colour, the State Opening of Parliament or state banquets.

Last year, just in the UK, the Queen carried out 378 official duties and the Duke of Edinburgh attended 352.

The Times says the enhanced role for the Prince, and also the Duchess of Cornwall, has been made possible by the success of the Royal Visit to the United States last year, and acceptance of the role of the Duchess. It is worth recalling that this was in the context of a campign by republicans, including those in the media, to portray the Prince’s marriage as the “beginning of the end” , and to report in advance the” failure” of the US visit.

Australia’s republican movement foolishly jumped onto both of these this bandwagons, thinking each were the beginning of some popular clamour for a republic.

How disappointed they were when, at a time in the middle of the night, and on a weekend, when few people normally would watch television, record numbers of Australians watched the Royal Wedding.

Prince Charles is a worthy member of the Royal Family, raising last year about a quarter of a billion dollars for his charities.

He is sure to grow in public esteem and respect.