Prince Charles brutally scolded by Thatcher in furious row: ‘I expected more from you’ | Royal | News (Reports)

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The Prince of Wales has often been accused of “meddling” in political affairs during his time as the heir to the throne. He has faced major backlash from those both in and outside Government over allegations that he has broken the Royal Family’s apolitical stance. Charles’ passion for inner-city renewal, environmental conservation and architecture have triggered him to write many private letters to ministers about his concerns over the years, later dubbed the Black Spider Memos.

His activism has rattled Downing Street in the past, but none more so than former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Mrs Thatcher had publicly promised to tackle the inner-city issues upon her third election victory — an issue which was one of Charles’ passion projects.

Excited at the prospect of making a difference, he encouraged her to meet with local leaders personally to discuss Business In The Community’s (BITC) outreach programme.

BITC was set up by Charles nearly four decades ago to “champion for responsible business”.

However, Mrs Thatcher rejected his suggestion, only for the Prince of Wales to approach her again about it a year later.

She eventually agreed to host a lunch with the inner city “enablers” at No.10, only to quickly withdraw the invitation shortly afterwards.

The Prime Minister allegedly feared that the press could get wind of the meeting, and pick up on the strained relationship between her and Charles.

Writing in his biography, ‘Charles — The Man Who Will Be King’, Howard Hodgson explained: “She believed that this would obviously provide her opponents with the valuable point that the Prince of Wales, although supposed to be politically neutral, was in fact opposed to Thatcher and her uncaring policies.

“She thought that was in neither of their interests.”

READ MORE: Charles and Diana’s bond ‘strengthened after skiing tragedy’ 

One of her former cabinet colleagues once said: “Margaret was always both a little suspicious of and irritated by Charles.”

They added: “She believed that it would all come right in the end but wished that Charles would keep his nose out of it and stick to cutting ribbons.”

Even so, Mrs Thatcher agreed to expand some inner-city programmes and match the amount BITC raised for a series of community projects.

However, the Iron Lady’s conflict with Prince Charles is rarely a talking point in the history books.

In Netflix drama, The Crown, it is the Queen who butts heads with Mrs Thatcher — a royal feud which has been examined regularly over the decades.

Despite being a royalist and only six months older than the Queen, it is clear that Mrs Thatcher and the monarch were two completely different characters.

She was the Queen’s first female Prime Minister and from a working class background.

Neither openly discussed their relationship but there were obvious tensions bubbling under the surface.

The Crown is the latest drama to suggest that the Queen was a secret critic of Mrs Thatcher particularly after disagreements within the Commonwealth over sanctions against Apartheid South Africa.

While the accuracy of this particular episode remains unclear, it seems unlikely the monarch would breach her own image as a completely neutral sovereign.

Additionally, by turning up to Mrs Thatcher’s funeral in 2013, it was evident that she had deep respect for the former Prime Minister.

Writing for HistoryExtra, historian Dominic Sandbrook explained: “Whatever Elizabeth II might have thought of her first woman Prime Minister, she could not deny that Thatcher won three consecutive elections, served for a record-breaking 11 years and left the political and economic landscape utterly transformed.

“And as a woman herself, she could not fail to respect the achievement of the first working mother elected to govern her country — even if it might sometimes have pained her to admit it.”

‘Charles — The Man Who Will Be King’ by Howard Hodgson was published by John Blake Publishing in 2007 and is available here.

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