Royal Roundup: Did Charles’ Charities Lobby Government Officials?

The Guardian is reporting that Prince Charles‘ charity organizations have been involved in lobbying members of the British government.

The paper writes that letters and e-mails it has obtained show that the charities have attempted to influence ministers and officials on “politically sensitive topics,” including tax rates and regional planning and spending.

“The series of interventions,” the article claims, “will re-ignite the debate about the Prince of Wales’s alleged ‘meddling’ in politics.”

Traditionally, the monarchy is supposed to be independent of the government and politically neutral.

Charles, however, has been famous for taking positions on a variety of political, social and environmental issues, and is even known to write handwritten notes to politicians to express his thoughts, for which he is unapologetic.

“What some people call meddling, I call mobilizing,” the Prince said in a speech in February.

In response to the story, a Clarence House spokesman said the charities are independent and governed by their trustees. “They communicate with government on issues relevant to their work, just like many charities do all the time,” the spokesman said. “The prince founded most of his charities and so, of course, takes a close interest in what they do. It is up to the charities themselves to decide on their communications with government.”

In other royal related news:

• The Duchess of Cambridge may be known for recycling her wardrobe, but it has not gone unnoticed that when she visited Birmingham on Friday she wore a new outfit, another Alexander McQueen creation designed by Sarah Burton. Kate wore a navy blue pencil skirt with gold buttons (£580/$957) with a matching cream blouse (£795/$1311), which appeared to be of a possibly military inspiration. (via The Daily Mail)

The Daily Mail reports that a former butler who worked for Prince Charles claims he was unfairly fired after being “bullied” and “treated as a pariah.”

Grant Harrold was an under-butler with a £24,000 ($40,000) yearly salary in the Prince’s Gloucestershire residence until he was let go in February. Harrold had been diagnosed with “phobic anxiety depersonalization syndrome,” which he says caused him to have panic attacks in urban environments, according to documents filed by his lawyer.

Clarence House says that the job itself was phased out. Harrold, who is seeking compensation from an employment tribunal, claims that staff members described him as “too dangerous” to work for the Prince and that, at the same time, told him he was “making up his medical problem and to stop his bullying claim.”

There are no suggestions that Prince Charles or any member of the royal family were in any way involved. A spokesman for Clarence House said: “The post of under butler at Highgrove was made redundant, and a relocation package was offered, which Mr. Harrold declined. We will be rebutting Mr. Harrold’s claim.”

• Kim Kardashian is apparently keeping up with the Windsors. The American reality TV personality got married over the weekend to basketball player Kris Humphries, and of course people are making comparisons to April’s royal wedding. In its All the Rage blog, the Los Angeles Times ran a “wedding throwdown,” and among the points of comparison are:

- Kate wore one wedding dress; Kim wore three, all by Vera Wang.

- Kate borrowed a tiara from her famed grandmother-in-law. Kim wore more than $10 million in jewels. (That’s not a typo.)

- Kate and William‘s wedding probably cost on the order of $34 million. Kim and Kris’s wedding probably earned the couple $17.9 million (also not a typo), including the $15 million they were paid for a two-part TV special.