Our future King

A leading article in The Times on September 16 expressed concern that the Prince of Wales might seek to bring undue influence to bear on ministers when he becomes King. Alistair Lexden responded with a defence of the Prince in a letter published in the paper on September 18.

Sir, In 1870 Gladstone doubted whether the monarchy would survive because “the Prince of Wales is not respected”, having decided to dedicate himself entirely to “the stimulants of pleasure”. Our Prince of Wales, by contrast, forfeits respect in some quarters by working extremely hard on behalf of the various causes he has taken up. It is feared that his accession could mark the start of a controversial “proactive monarchy”(Leading article, “King-in-Waiting”, Sep.16).

It is much more likely, as many who know him well attest, that a clear recognition of the neutrality incumbent on the monarch has led him to fashion a complementary role for the heir that combines service to the country with responsible advocacy of major reforms wholly outside the realm of party politics. This has never been attempted before. It will up to the Duke of Cambridge to decide whether to continue, or to amend, the new active princely role when his father becomes our constitutional monarch.

Lord Lexden
House of Lords