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Prince Charles 'tried to have Jean Nouvel sacked'


The Prince lobbied for Pritzker Prize winner to be dropped from the £500 million One New Change complex beside St Paul’s Cathedral

The Guardian reports that Prince Charles wrote a private letter to Land Securities, the developers, in which he made clear he was unhappy with the choice of Nouvel, saying any design should ‘allow St Paul’s to shine bright’ and offering his own architectural advisers in case the developers ‘needed any help to think about what works best’.

‘He wrote to me at the time we selected Nouvel and suggested we should meet his preferred architects,’ Mike Hussey, then London director of Land Securities told the newspaper. ‘He hadn’t seen the scheme, he just complained about the selection of the architect. He didn’t want a modernist.’

Hussey claims the heir to the throne ‘referred us to the Paternoster Square development… He said “this is how we approached it and got it right”.’

The letter, sent in 2005, was condemned by Sunand Prassad, RIBA President as ‘brazen’ and ‘pernicious’. ‘The Prince has an unusual amount of power which, under our constitution, is not designed to be used to interfere with the running of everyday affairs in this country for the simple reason that the prince is not accountable… This is a dangerous course to go down. There was an open competition for this building and then along comes somebody with special powers seeking to influence the outcome in a blatant intervention,’ he told the Guardian.

It also emerged that Prince Charles’s architecture charity is involved in plans for more than 17,000 homes – a larger number than Persimmon, one of Britain’s largest house builders, built last year.


Readers' comments (39)

  • This is the reality of living in a society where class and deference is still a real issue: making 'modern' remains an optimistic endeavour

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  • The Guardian report is full of nonsense. Inaccurate reporting, which should be taken with a pinch of salt.

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  • Given that Finch has just been appointed Chair of CABE, the worst person possible, the country may need an influential voice to be heard against the worst sort of anti-heritage developers and starchitects, with their unpopular schemes, and ignorant Chairpersons.

    Go Charles go!

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  • charles is just a man, definitely not an authority, perhaps we should just ignore him. I know i will

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  • The point isn't about good or bad architecture, and whether you're a Modernist or Traditionalist, its the fact that a non-elected person is abusing a prominent position to bypass the planning process. Prince Charles is welcome to enter into the debate and express an opinion, as everyone is, but his personal opinion is no more valuable than any member of the public.

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  • Charles does nothing the rest of aren't entitled to do, either. I know I have tried many times to have thrown out planning applications I didn't like. It's called democracy.

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  • Charles cannot enter into the formal planning process, although there is nothing unlawful with trying to engage a developer to try to alter schemes before planning is applied for. A developer can have the freedom of choice to alter or not.

    We all have such freedom. Others do it, it's not only HRH.

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  • What UK needs unfortunately is what France went through 2 centuries ago: a revolution and the clear adoption of a democratic political system.
    David Hingamp.

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  • As far as planning goes, the current system is anything but democratic, despite claims that it is; it's one where cash talks. If it's a developer with his starchitect, that seems to be OK, but when others do what they can to try to have some influence, that's bad?

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  • So a starchitect can vandalise a perfectly good townscape to pander to his own ego, but when Prince Charles seeks to keep the character of a place for future generations we have a problem with that?
    Far better to have someone seeking the common good than someone with an over inflated ego. Spot on Charles.

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