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Martin Ivens

The Prince of Wales and His Discontents

The Queen has kept the monarchy popular — and the country united around it — by keeping her opinions to herself. Charles should master the discipline.

Charles, Prince at Ascot Racecourse on June 15

Charles, Prince at Ascot Racecourse on June 15

Photographer: Samir Hussein/WireImage

In George Bernard Shaw’s prophetic comedy “The Apple Cart,” a fictional King Magnus fights an attempt by Prime Minister Proteus to deprive him of the right to influence public opinion through the press. He wants a cipher for a sovereign. The King threatens to abdicate and stand for election himself — in the knowledge that the British monarchy is more popular than any dreary or opportunist politician.

Back in the real world, the royals are supposed to “never complain, never explain.” The Queen is famous for her discretion and dutifully dull pronouncements. Yet her heir, Prince Charles has been taking a leaf out of King Magnus’s book. He has been telling “friends” that the government’s controversial policy of deporting to Rwanda asylum seekers and migrants who have been smuggled illegally into Britain is “appalling,” according to a piece in The Times of London.