'I will NOT be a meddling monarch... I'm not that stupid': Charles gives extraordinary TV interview on eve of his 70th birthday as his family open up about what he is REALLY like



Prince Charles has ruled out being a 'meddling monarch' when he succeeds to the throne.
In a major documentary to mark his 70th birthday next week, the heir to the throne tackles head-on the issue of his controversial lobbying.
And he vows to stop campaigning on the environment, architecture and homeopathy as king, insisting: 'I'm not that stupid.' 
Speaking for the first – and, aides insist, last – time on a subject that has dogged much of his time as Prince of Wales he says: 'I do realise it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So of course I understand entirely how that should operate.
'I've tried to make sure whatever I've done has been non-party political, but I think it's vital to remember there's only room for one sovereign at a time, not two.
'You can't be the same as the sovereign if you're the Prince of Wales or the heir. But the idea somehow that I'm going to go on exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense because the two situations are completely different.'
However, the prince is unrepentant about his public campaigning over the past half century. He says archly: 'I always wonder what meddling is? I mean I always thought it was motivating.
'But I've always been intrigued, if it's meddling to worry about the inner cities as I did 40 years ago and what was happening or not happening there – the conditions in which people were living. If that's meddling I'm very proud of it.'
The documentary, Prince, Son and Heir – Charles at 70, which airs on BBC One at 9pm tonight, is a fascinating portrait of the king-in-waiting, featuring candid contributions from family including his sons William and Harry and wife, the Duchess of Cornwall. It reveals that:
  • Charles is such a workaholic that he often falls asleep at his desk at midnight with a memo stuck to his forehead;
  • When the Duchess of Sussex found out her father would not be walking her down the aisle, Charles immediately volunteered;
  • Prince William wishes his father could spend more time with grandchildren George, Charlotte and Louis;
  • Although born to be king, Charles does not think about his destiny much;
  • William insists he wants to be his 'own man' as Prince of Wales.
Documentary-maker John Bridcut was given unrivalled access to Charles for a year, watching him at close quarters both at work and in private.
And although a sensitive subject with the prince, the issue of his life-long lobbying was difficult to ignore.
Over the years, the prince has been accused of risking the monarch's constitutional impartiality by meddling in government policy.
Tales of his so-called 'black spider memos', the regular missives written to ministers calling for action in his distinctive scrawled handwriting, have left many uneasy about his ability to be a neutral monarch.