The Prince of Wales has said he will stop ‘meddling’ in architectural issues when he becomes king, according to a new BBC documentary to mark his 70th birthday
In the programme Charles, who has often been criticised by the profession for his views on Classicism and his influence on the property sector, said once he became monarch he would operate within ’constitutional parameters’ and row back from his public campaigning.
In architectural terms, the Prince is best known for his open attack on Modernism at the RIBA’s 150th-anniversary celebration at Hampton Court Palace in 1984. There he unexpectedly slammed ABK’s proposed extension to the National Gallery as ‘a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend’. The scheme was later scrapped.
Three years later, at the Corporation of London planning and communication committee’s annual dinner at Mansion House, he said: ’You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe, when it knocked down our buildings, it did not replace them with anything more offensive than rubble.’
In 2009 Richard Rogers blamed the prince for getting him booted off the Chelsea Barracks project. He told the Guardian: ’We had hoped that Prince Charles had retreated from his position on modern architecture, but he single-handedly destroyed this project.’ Rogers claimed it was the third time the future king had scuppered one of his schemes, claiming Charles had also had a hand in the demise of his designs for Paternoster Square and the Royal Opera House.
In the programme, which will be shown tonight (8 November) on BBC One at 9pm, Prince Charles said the notion that he would continue campaigning and making interventions once king was ‘nonsense’. He added he was ‘not that stupid’.
During the documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, he was asked about his ‘meddling’ in politics and wider issues such as the environment, but he told filmmaker John Bridcut he had always tried to remain ‘non-party political’.
But he added: ‘If it’s meddling to worry about the inner cities as I did 40 years ago, then if that’s meddling I’m proud of it.’
In the programme, which was filmed over a 12-month period, Prince Charles acknowledged that his role would have to change once he became monarch. He said: ‘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 as the 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.’
He added: ‘I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So of course I understand entirely how that should operate.’