Charles, the Prince of Wales, says he won’t be a “meddling” monarch when he finally becomes King, saying he would be “stupid” to continue to speak out.
The heir apparent has been criticised in the past for his views on topics such as the environment and architecture. In a BBC documentary marking his 70th birthday, he promised stay out of political matters because he is “not that stupid”, he said.
But for someone who has, by his own admission, tried to “make a difference” in his role as the Prince of Wales, this might be hard for Charles. Will he be able to bite his tongue?
He is known by people close to him to oscillate between two roles, that of convenor, and that of activist. Here are three controversial times Charles entered public debate.
The ‘Black spider’ memos
Charles was forced to defend his decision to write a series of letters to government ministers, dubbed the “black spider” memos because of his use of black ink.
A long-running legal battle by Guardian newspaper journalist Rob Evans to secure the release of the documents culminated in the UK’s highest court ordering the Government to publish them in 2015.
The letters showed the Prince had raised issues with ministers on several occasions between September 2004 and March 2005.
He tackled then-Prime Minister Tony Blair over the lack of resources for the armed forces fighting in Iraq and also wrote to ministers about the benefits of complementary medicine, the need for affordable rural homes and the threat to heritage buildings.
Clarence House said the correspondence showed “the range of the Prince of Wales’ concerns and interests for this country and the wider world”.
It also defended his decision to write the letters, with a spokesman saying: “The publication of private letters 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.”