Prince Charles and Camilla arrive at church on Christmas Day
This week, the Prince of Wales warned “there isn’t a moment to lose” in the fight against climate change, and that the world was on “the brink” of environmental catastrophe. Charles compared the existential threat of climate change to that of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In an essay written for a US publication, Charles added that he hoped the new year would mark a new beginning in humanity’s efforts in combating climate change.
Inspired by his late father Prince Philip, Charles has long been vocal about the need to for a sustainable future
He also called for a “war-like footing” at last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, before his Newsweek essay was published, where he insisted a “vast military-style campaign” was needed to help mobilise the business world to tackle the climate crisis.
Though Charles has received praise from some quarters for his rallying calls to protect the environment, Professor Hocking claimed that the Prince of Wales’ “unwillingness” to remain neutral on such issues could spell problems for the monarchy’s future.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Prof Hocking, who is on the National Committee of the Australian Republican Movement, said: “I think there will be lots of concern that he’s unwilling or perhaps unable to maintain the neutral position that a constitutional monarch has to have if they are to coexist within a parliamentary structure.
Prince Charles turbulent nature will spell problems for the monarchy
Charles delivered a speech at COP26
“That’s the real problem I think that we have ‒ that he’s not popular, he’s more interventionist.
“I think he’s seen as a more turbulent individual than the Queen and that spells problems for the monarchy ahead.”
Prof Hocking added that the public know Charles far better than they do the Queen, due to the Prince of Wales’ divorce from Princess Diana in the Nineties.
Diana and Charles separated in 1992 after news of their incompatibility and infidelity became public.
Charles and Diana separated in 1992
Their marital difficulties became increasingly publicised, and the couple ultimately divorced in 1996, a year before Diana’s death.
Prof Hocking added that the fact we know so much about Charles’ personal life is a problem for the monarchy.
She claimed: “I think there’s a sense that we do know more about him and a lot of people aren’t particularly pleased with what they know.
“Particularly the upheaval in his marriage, the death of Diana, together with the way he’s been what you might call a ‘meddling’ prince.
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Charles’ father Philip was also a passionate environmentalist
“He hasn’t shied away from intervening in political matters and that’s quite shocking for a constitutional monarch to be.
“The nub of a constitutional monarchy, the thing that makes it rest more comfortably with a liberal democracy through the Westminster system, [is that] a constitutional monarch is meant to have no political power.”
Prof Hocking referenced the ‘Black Spider’ memos, in which 27 of Charles’ private letters to senior Government ministers were published by the Guardian in 2016.
Some critics have claimed the letters are evidence of the heir-apparent petitioning ministers on subjects including hunting, alternative therapies and the Iraq war.
The Black Spider memos were released in 2016 after a ten year legal battle
Upon the release of the letters, a spokesperson for Charles said the Prince of Wales was “disappointed” that the principle of confidentiality had not been maintained.
The spokesperson added that Charles “can only inhibit his ability to express the concerns and suggestions which have been put to him in the course of his travels and meetings.”
On the memos, Prof Hocking claimed: “That gives one single individual unique access to Government policy, which is for any individual utterly improper, and for a constitutional monarch completely improper.
“He’s been quite up front in many ways about his public pronouncements on policy matters, for example the most recent one on climate change, or some environmental or cultural issues.
Charles’ seems unwilling to remain neutral on certain matters claimed Professor Hocking
“The question is not if you agree with them or not. The question: is should a constitutional monarch be making those particular pronouncements?
“The answer is no, he shouldn’t, because as a constitutional monarch he has to remain politically neutral.”
However, Prince Charles has insisted he will not be a meddling monarch, telling a 2018 BBC documentary entitled ‘Prince, Son, Heir: Charles at 70’ that he is “not that stupid”.
He argued that the role of Prince of Wales is different to that of monarch, and that he will be less interventionist when he ascends to the throne.
He said: “I’ve tried to make sure whatever I’ve done has been non party political.
“But I think it’s vital to remember there’s only room for one sovereign at a time, not two, so you can’t be the same sovereign if you’re the Prince of Wales or the heir.
“But the idea somehow that I’m going to go on in exactly the same way if I have to succeed is complete nonsense, because the two, the two situations are completely different.
“Clearly, I won’t be able to do the same things I’ve done, you know, as heir, so of course you operate within the constitutional parameters.”
When pushed on people’s concerns that he would continue in the same way, he said: “No, I won’t. I’m not that stupid, I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign.”