'Dissident prince sought to influence opinion'

Artykuły


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"


Chris Tryhorn
Tuesday February 21, 2006
The Prince of Wales saw himself as a "dissident" trying to influence opinion by writing letters to politicians and he used the media to disseminate his views, according to former aide Mark Bolland.
On one occasion, the prince placed a story in the Daily Telegraph revealing that he deliberately snubbed a banquet at the Chinese embassy, Mr Bolland, Prince Charles's former deputy private secretary, claimed in a statement submitted to the high court.
Mr Bolland's statement - which the prince's legal team attempted to keep out of open court - is part of evidence that will be presented in a privacy claim brought by the prince against the Mail on Sunday, which is being heard today by Mr Justice Blackburne.
In the statement, Mr Bolland, who worked for the prince between 1996 and 2002, said his employer would write to MPs and other prominent public figures to make his views known.
"The prince's very definite aim in all this activity, as he explained to me, was to influence opinion," Mr Bolland said in the statement.
"He saw that as part of the job of the heir apparent. He carried it out in a very considered, thoughtful and researched way. He often referred to himself as a 'dissident' working against the prevailing political consensus."
Mr Bolland said he regarded the prince's letters as "constitutionally controversial" and that they had concerned some politicians and senior civil servants.
As for the media, Mr Bolland said the prince would sometimes authorise friends or employees to "brief" on his behalf. He pointed to an incident in October 1999, when the prince did not attend a banquet at the Chinese embassy held to mark a state visit by the then Chinese president, Jiang Zemin.
"He did this as a deliberate snub to the Chinese because he did not approve of the Chinese regime and is a great supporter of the Dalai Lama, whom he views as being oppressed by the Chinese," Mr Bolland said.
He said he was given "a direct and personal instruction" to draw the media's attention to the prince's "boycott". He said he had briefed the Telegraph to run a story "as the prince wanted" and added that Charles was "delighted" by media coverage of the incident.
However, Mr Bolland's account was contradicted by the witness statement of the prince's private secretary, Sir Michael Peat.
Sir Michael said the prince had told him: "He gave no instruction to draw the media's attention to his failure to attend the banquet, or to publish any material critical of the Chinese government."
As for the prince's alleged lobbying of politicians, Sir Michael said: "He does not campaign on contentious issues but occasionally raises questions about matters he regards as being of public concern."
He added that the prince wrote to ministers "from time to time on issues he believes are important".
Other details of Mr Bolland's witness statement are being challenged by the prince's legal team.
The case continues.

aide- adiutant
alleged- rzekomy
brief- instruować, informować; powierzać sprawę do obrony
contentious- sporny, kontrowersyjny
contradict- zaprzeczać
disseminate- rozsiewać, szerzyć
heir apparent- prawowity następca tronu
on one’s behalf- w czyimś imieniu
prevailing- powszechny, przeważający
snub- lekceważyć, traktować lekceważąco


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