Broadcast: Monday 12 March 2007 08:00 PM
Prince Charles will one day be crowned King of England - a position which by constitutional convention is politically neutral. But in this six-month investigation, Dispatches reveals a number of serious concerns: the extent of his political ambition and interference, the measures his office have employed to silence critics and questionable financial arrangements, which raise questions about his suitability for the throne and the future of the monarchy.
Charles: The Meddling Prince
While the Queen has always adhered to her constitutional role and kept her opinions to herself, her son has proved an outspoken and controversial figure. Charles has made his views public on a range of issues.
He has also entered debates on the environment, agriculture, architecture, education and alternative health remedies. But Dispatches has uncovered evidence that his public comments have often been backed up by lobbying and interference in political affairs that dates back to the year he became Prince of Wales.
Dispatches reveals the extent of the Prince's political lobbying with a former royal insider disclosing the frequency and regularity of letters he sends to ministers on a whole range of subjects.
One of the areas which Charles stands accused of most trying to influence is public health policy. His passionate belief in the benefits of alternative and complementary treatments has led him doggedly to promote this in Westminster. We reveal the serious worries of some doctors that Charles's interference could have had potentially dangerous consequences for patients. We also uncover the measures the Prince's officeappears to be prepared to take to silence critics.
In contrast to how outspoken Charles is in relation to his political beliefs, there is concern that too little is known about his financial affairs. We investigate the management of the Duchy of Cornwall, the vast private estate which provides his main income.
According to his accounts, the Duchy paid the Prince a massive £14m last year alone. Dispatches has obtained documents which uncover the huge financial savings the Duchy makes, thanks to its unique ability to avoid avoid paying direct tax. We also report concerns about the Duchy's lack of financial transparency and complaints about the way some of its tenants are treated.
And while Charles is actively promoting his causes - there is concern that he doesn't always practice what he preaches. Dispatches examines claims that his extravagant lifestyle is often at odds with the principles he espouses and expects of others and questions whether his work as a public figure actually provides good value for money.
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