Prince Charles letters revealed after long-running legal battle

Prince Charles letters revealed after long-running legal battle

Prince Charles has today defended his decision to write a series of letters to British government ministers.

Charles's correspondence with ministers - known as the "black spider" memos - were released following a long-running battle by Guardian newspaper journalist Rob Evans to see the documents following a freedom-of-information request.

Earlier today, one of the Prince's senior aides ripped the cover off a television journalist's microphone just hours before the release of letters sent by Charles to government ministers.

A Clarence House spokesman said: "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."

The statement also insists: "The Prince of Wales is raising issues of public concern, and trying to find practical ways to address the issues."

The spokesman said Charles carries out more than 600 engagements a year which "gives him a unique perspective" and has led to him identifying issues that "he, or his charities, or his other connections, can help address".

He went on: "Sometimes this leads him to communicate his experience or, indeed, his concerns or suggestions to ministers, from all Governments, of whatever party, either in meetings or in writing.

"Government ministers have often encouraged him to do so, and many have welcomed the Prince's views and ideas on a range of subjects. There are examples of this in the correspondence that has been made public."

One of the letters was to Paul Murphy, secretary of state for Northern Ireland from 2002 to 2005, to discuss the future of Armagh Gaol.

A Clarence House spokesman said Charles intervened because he "has a long-standing interest in the role of the built environment in community building".

He said the intervention came after the historic building had stood vacant for 20 years.

Charles offered the "help and expertise of his charities in order to find a new and practical solution to help save the site", Clarence House said.

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