Prince Charles Just Received An Unexpected Slap On The Wrist

The British royal family is a busy bunch. Attending "over 2,000 official engagements" each year, their duties range from supporting charities to representing the U.K. at various events. Additionally, in the case of Queen Elizabeth II, these engagements include "approving bills" in Parliament. These varied responsibilities can sometimes blur the line between what royals should and shouldn't do. As the royal family's official website points out, the monarchy plays a significant role in British culture and tradition. Yet, their power is extremely minimal when it comes to political affairs.

Those who rule on the throne are under additional scrutiny and must follow strict rules to avoid overstepping bounds, according to Express. It seems as though Prince Charles, who's first in line to the throne, may need to refresh himself on these rules quickly if he's to take over his mother's reign in the future. On the heels of the queen's momentous Platinum Jubilee celebration, Charles has landed himself in hot water for sharing a controversial political opinion.

Prince Charles was accused of political meddling

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, are gearing up to visit Rwanda to represent Queen Elizabeth at The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Ahead of his trip, though, the future king has been "accused of meddling" after reportedly speaking out about the U.K.'s plan to deport Rwandan asylum-seekers (per AP News). Traditionally, royals are expected to remain neutral on political matters and are barred from influencing government decisions. However, a source told The Times that the prince allegedly called the deportation plan "appalling" and that he was "more than disappointed at the policy."

Though Charles reportedly made his remarks during a private conversation, he has been blasted for commenting on government affairs. Nigel Farage, the founder of the Brexit Party (per Britannica), criticized the royal on Twitter. Farage wrote, "Unless Prince Charles wants to destroy the monarchy he had better shut up fast." Another unidentified cabinet member responded by telling The Times, "Prince Charles is an adornment to our public life, but that will cease to be charming if he attempts to behave the same way when he is king."

Clarence House released a statement following this string of events, stating, "We would not comment on supposed anonymous private conversations with the Prince of Wales, except to restate that he remains politically neutral," (via CNN). This isn't the first time Charles has been accused of meddling.

Prince Charles has made his opinions clear

This is not the first time that Prince Charles has weighed in on political issues. In 2015, letters from 2004 to 2005 between Charles and then Prime Minister Tony Blair and other politicians were revealed; they included Charles' thoughts on a range of political topics including the war in Iraq, herbal medicine, and the protection of badgers — he was against, though he did want to protect the albatross, via Business Insider. Known as the "black spider memos" due to Charles' spirally, spider-like handwriting, some thought the letters were a clear sign of the prince violating political neutrality, per The Guardian. Upon their release, however, there wasn't a huge reckoning over his action, and his office said the prince had the "right to communicate privately," as noted by The Washington Post.

More recently, Charles has come under fire for voicing his opinions on climate change. At the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, a.k.a. COP26, the heir to the throne spoke about the dangers of the loss of biodiversity and not addressing climate change, per CNBC. Nigel Farage found fault in the prince's "green kick," and said that Charles might be right but that it wasn't his place to try and influence legislation, per Express.

Prince Charles says he'll act differently when he's king

It could be that once Prince Charles becomes king, there wouldn't be any more potentially non-neutral political opinions getting out. In an interview with the BBC for his 70th birthday, Charles pointed out the difference between being sovereign and being heir, saying, "Clearly I won't be able to do the same things I've done as heir. [...] I think people have forgotten that the two are very different." And when specifically asked about what's been seen by some as political meddling in regards to his support for things like curbing climate change, he said, "I'm not that stupid" to continue doing such when he becomes king.

Of course, Charles isn't the first royal to be criticized for seemingly airing political opinions. In a 2019 speech, the queen noted that she hoped people could work to find common ground, which some took to be a political opinion on Brexit, via Marie Claire. And in 2014, when she told someone before the Scottish independence referendum, "I hope people will think very carefully about the future," some also saw that as a subtle way for her to share her opinion in support of Scotland staying a part of the United Kingdom, via Independent.