London: Prince Charles is routinely sent papers from confidential UK Cabinet meetings, a media report said today raising concerns over the neutrality of the heir to the Britain throne.
The latest documents reveal that Prince Charles is sent papers on the inner workings of the government, alongside Queen Elizabeth II and ministers in charge of departments, including secret proposals for new legislation and other documents that are made public only after 30 years under UK’s de-classification rules, the ‘Guardian’ newspaper reported.
Confirmation of the circulation of Cabinet files to the 67-year-old future monarch is detailed in the Cabinet’s “precedent book”, which until now has been kept in a locked cupboard within a locked office in a secured corridor inside the Cabinet Office, the report said.
The UK Cabinet office fought for three years to block the release of the document, which reveals how Charles is on the “standard circulation” list for Cabinet memoranda.
The released chapters state: “The documents of the cabinet and ministerial committees are issued primarily to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and ministers… The need for secrecy calls for special care in circulation and handling.”
It adds: “The standard circulation for cabinet memoranda includes the Queen, the Prince of Wales, all members of the cabinet, any other ministers in charge of departments, the attorney general and the chief whip… Ministers of state and junior minister do not normally receive memoranda.”
The revelation follows a three-year campaign by Republic, which had earlier in May led to the so-called “black spider” memos being made public.
The memos to government departments were criticised as a reflection of the Prince of Wales’ attempt to lobby ministers on issues of concern to him.
The government fought the release of the information following a freedom of information request by Republic, the UK’s campaign group for an elected head of state.
“The disclosure of cabinet papers to Prince Charles is quite extraordinary. Not only because they would contain highly classified information, but because it gives him considerable advantage in pressing his own agenda when lobbying ministers.
“He is essentially a minister not attending cabinet. He gets the paperwork and has private meetings with ministers about policy,”Graham Smith, Republic’s chief executive, told the ‘Guardian’.
Prince Charles’ Clarence House office said the information was sent to him “as part of his constitutional role as heir to the throne”.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “It has been established practice for many years that the sovereign and the heir to the throne receive the minutes of cabinet meetings. It is important that the head of state and her heir are properly briefed.