Mike Bartlett’s recent play King Charles III, nominated for six Olivier awards, opens and concludes with a royal succession. The plot is a prophecy about Prince Charles’ future kingship, in which Charles uses dormant royal powers to stop Parliament passing legislation he disagrees with, and so sparks a revolution. Revolution is probably not at stake in today’s Supreme Court decision to release the real Prince Charles’ ‘black spider memos’. But these letters will bring the Prince’s political leanings under scrutiny.
The memos are a series of letters written by Charles to government ministers in the early 2000s. The Guardian newspaper issued a Freedom of Information request to see the correspondence in 2005, but it has been successively blocked. In 2012, the then Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve claimed that the publication of Prince Charles’ letters would damage his perceived political neutrality. Stating that this would not be in the public interest, Grieve refused to authorise their circulation. This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the general public can finally have access to the letters. Continue reading