I recently became a subject of the British (and Canadian) Royal Family, so I guess I should start taking interest in their affairs, as it were. This made me laugh (emphasis mine).
The attorney general said there was a risk that the prince would not be seen to be politically neutral by the public if the letters were published.
“This risk will arise if, through these letters, the Prince of Wales was viewed by others as disagreeing with government policy. Any such perception would be seriously damaging to his role as future monarch because if he forfeits his position of political neutrality as heir to the throne, he cannot easily recover it when he is king,”
Apparently, writing 27 letters about political issues (in bad handwriting, oh, the shame!) in an attempt to influence policy makers is okay. However, if the public saw them, it would not be okay, so we can’t see them.
I would like to use this defence next time I am a scofflaw.
Officer: I am going to give you a ticket for riding on the sidewalk.
Me: But Ma’am, if you do so, there’s a risk that I would not be seen to be law abiding by the public!! Any such perception would be seriously damaging to my role as future bicycle policy maven!
Officer: Yeah, that makes sense, have a good evening!
In all seriousness, I think the royals should use their enormous bully pulpit to champion important issues. They should be talking about climate change. They should be lobbying zoning boards! But, they need to do it out in the open just like their subjects.
Image of the prince of Wales used with thanks from Rizzato’s flickr stream under a creative commons licence.