Prince Charles sends Christmas message to Whitely Homes Trust
On January 1, the UK officially broke free from the EU, having emerged from the one year Brexit transition period. Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a deal in the nick of time last month and outlined what was negotiated in a press briefing on Christmas Eve. Britain has left the single market and customs union and new arrangements allowing for tariff-free trade in goods and close police and judicial cooperation have come into force.
The trade agreement, which is 2,000 pages long, contains provisions for a wide variety of issues including details of how much of the UK’s fishing waters have been reclaimed.
The Royal Family customarily stay out of any political issues, as staying neutral is a key facet of a constitutional monarchy.
Indeed, the Royal Family’s website states that the Queen must remain “strictly neutral with respect to political matters” and that “by convention, other members of the family have to follow suit”.
However, the Prince of Wales has on occasion let slip his own personal opinions.
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Prince Charles and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
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For example, he once voiced concerns about the “maddening bureaucracy” of the European Economic Community (EEC), the precursor to the EU, according to unearthed reports seen by Express.co.uk.
In a report by the Bruges Group, a UK think tank advocating for a restructuring of the UK’s relationship with the EU, it was claimed Charles told a former French President that the EEC had “maddening bureaucratic regulations”.
He added that each nation still has a strong identity, even within the bloc.
The Prince of Wales was speaking to François Mitterand, who was hosting a dinner in Paris in 1988, which he attended with Princess Diana.
Former French President Francois Mitterand
The report read: “Prince Charles summarised the views of this campaign when he spoke to the French President at dinner on November 8, 1988.
“The current emphasis on standardisation and maddening bureaucratic regulations may be necessary for economic success… to make Europe a practical and romantic possibility.
“I believe we should be careful and not be too missionary.
“After all, Frenchmen are still French, the Italians Italian, and the British very British ‒ perhaps too British sometimes for French tastes.”
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Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Paris in 1988
The Bruges Group added to Charles’ argument, saying: “There is no question that the strength of Europe lies in its diversity.
“The idea of creating a European superpower is an illusion.
“Our cultural, linguistic and economic differences will never allow Europe to match the singular entity of countries like Japan and the United States.”
The report said that, on the issue of defence, Charles also spoke up at dinner, particularly about the Cold War and USSR.
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He said: “At present, there seems to be a genuine change in the Soviet Union, and it is welcomed.
“But there is a long way to go, and during what will inevitably be the slow progress of Glasnost and Perestroika, we need to be watchful of our interests and careful of our security.”
Of course, this took place just months before the Berlin Wall came down and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Since these comments about the EEC in 1988, Charles has not spoken out against the bloc again.
However, he has stumbled into trouble over alleged political bias again, with the Black Spider Memos in the mid-2000s, which appeared to be advocating specific policies in letters to Tony Blair and his ministers.
A decade-long battle by The Guardian to have the letters released meant they were finally published in 2015.
Some parts of the press described the pages as “underwhelming” and “harmless”.
The Daily Telegraph went as far as to claim their release had “backfired on those who seek to belittle him”.
Charles is reportedly planning to distance himself from politics even further when he becomes King.
According to The Independent, Charles revealed he will give up “meddling” when he ascends to the throne.