Hats off the Guardian, Britain's most thoughtful left-wing newspaper, for running a piece today in defence of Prince Charles.
Vernon Bogdanor has been given space to argue back against the Guardian's constant criticism of the Prince, including its long-running campaign suggesting that he Prince abuses his position as constitutional monarch-in-waiting by seeking to influence policy.
The prince has been accused of "lobbying". But the key feature of a lobbyist is that he has a vested interest. The prince has no vested interests on such matters as Shakespeare or modern architecture. He has also been accused of enjoying a royal veto over matters affecting his private interests. But all that his critics have been able to establish is that he has been consulted.
The position of heir to the throne is not a wholly comfortable one. While his contemporaries have been advancing their careers, the prince cannot come into his inheritance until his mother dies. He could easily have wasted his time in nightclubs and idle living, as some of his predecessors have been accused of doing. Instead, he has sought to modernise the monarchy by working for those to whom monarchy has in the past seemed of little relevance – the disadvantaged, the unemployed, members of ethnic minorities, and struggling communities such as Burnley, Stoke and Tottenham. The work of his various charities and foundations, including The Prince's Trust, offers a striking example of how the influence of the monarchy can be brought into play without compromising its political neutrality.