by MONITOR
PRINCE Charles seems to have mastered his inclination to pronounce on matters of public policy, but now we have another member of the Royal Family pontificating on Iraq, of all topics. This is the Duke of York, fourth in line to the Throne, whose current role in life is to help British exporters by using his rank to open important doors for them. In preparation for a mission to the United States he gave an interview to the International Herald Tribune in which he said, referring to post-invasion Iraq, “There are occasions when people in the UK would wish those in responsible positions in the US might listen and learn from our experiences.” Few people will disagree with Prince Andrew's views. But even fewer should defend his right to express them. Certainly, the US made a mess of governing Iraq after the invasion and ignored suggestions from Britain for doing things differently. But on two scores the Duke was wrong to make the point: first, because no American wants to hear such criticism from a Limey Dook; second, because his intervention went against the protocol that members of the Royal family do not comment in public on sensitive issues. However, Prince Andrew should be given top marks for one thing. When a newspaper asked Buckingham Palace whether the Duke's remarks had been correctly reported, perhaps expecting to be told they had been “taken out of context”, the Palace spokesman said that “his views had been accurately reported by the newspaper.”