by Ray Fleming

There are certainly more immediately important things going on in the world just now but nonetheless a moment or two must be found to reflect on yesterday's decision by Britain's Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, to block the release of 27 letters written by Prince Charles to several government departments in 2004 and 2005. After a delay of seven years three judges have ruled in favour of an application by the Guardian for the letters to be released but in fewer than seven weeks Mr Grieve has chosen to use his ministerial veto to block them indefinitely.

The general content of some of these letters is known and Mr Grieve acknowledged that they were “urging a particular view on a minister” but he claimed that this was part of Prince Charles's wish to “educate” himself for the time when he might be King and that to release them to the public gaze would “undermine his position of political neutrality”.

But that's exactly the point, isn't it? By hiding behind that argument Mr Grieve is endorsing the general view that Prince Charles has already undermined his neutrality and, perhaps just as importantly, has shown that a senior government minister puts the interest of a member of the royal family ahead of his responsibility to Parliament and the public at large. The sooner Prince Charles renounces his right to the succession the better.

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