Charles' world

Prince Charles' views on 'social utopianism' have caused controversy. But it's hardly the first subject that the heir to the throne has offered opinions on. Stephen Moss trawls the archives
On the collapse of deference

What is wrong with people nowadays? Why do they all seem to think they are qualified to do things far above their capabilities? This is all to do with the learning culture in schools. It is a consequence of a child-centred education system which tells people they can become pop stars, high court judges or brilliant TV presenters or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having the natural ability. It is a result of social utopianism which believes humanity can be genetically engineered to contradict the lessons of history.
Confidential memo written by Charles, March 2002

The 1960s

I was a teenager in the 1960s and remember witnessing what I realise now was a kind of cultural revolution which swept out the poor old baby with the bathwater.
Speech at the Prince of Wales Education summer school, October 4 2002

On 'organic' education

We live in a materialistic world which does not always fully appreciate the intrinsic importance of education - the balance between the heart and the mind; between, in other words, the "efficient", useful, "relevant" things and those now seen as "inefficient"; the ideas and inherited wisdom that make us truly human at the end of the day.
Speech at the third Prince of Wales Education summer school, June 25 2004

On plants

To get the best results, you must talk to your vegetables.
Quoted in the Observer, September 28 1986

On health

I would suggest that the whole imposing edifice of modern medicine, for all its breathtaking successes, is, like the celebrated Tower of Pisa, slightly off balance. It is frightening how dependent upon drugs we are all becoming and how easy it is for doctors to prescribe them as the universal panacea for our ills.
Speech to the British Medical Association, December 14 1982

On allergies

We spend up to 80% of our time indoors, and the sealing of our houses to conserve heat and energy, the increase in soft furnishings and the rising numbers of pets all increase the chance of those genetically at risk becoming sensitised to domestic allergens such as dust mites, moulds, cats and dogs.
Article in the Guardian, February 28 2004

On fidelity

Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?
Quoted in the Daily Mail, December 1994

On architecture

A large number of us have developed a feeling that architects tend to design houses for the approval of fellow architects and critics, not for the tenants.
Speech at the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects, May 30 1984

On the extension to the National Gallery

Like a carbuncle on the face of an old and valued friend.
Quoted in the Times, May 31 1984

On the press

Is it not the case that in the legitimate pursuit of news, in the desire to make information available to the public, in the desire to hold public bodies and public figures to account, and in its desire to entertain, the media in all its forms sometimes becomes too cynical, too ready to assume the worst, to construct the general out of the particular, and too eager to focus on the short-term and forget the long-term?
Speech to mark the 300th anniversary of Fleet Street newspapers, March 11 2002

On God

During the last three centuries, the western world has seen the growth of a damaging division in the way we see and understand the world around us. Science has tried to assume a monopoly - or rather, a tyranny - over our understanding of the world around us. Religion and science have become separated, and science has attempted to separate the natural world from God, with the result that it has fragmented the cosmos and placed the sacred into a separate, and secondary, compartment of our understanding, divorced from the practical day-to-day world of man. We are only now beginning to understand the disastrous results of this outlook.
Speech entitled "Sacred in the Modern World", July 10 1996

On Islam

We in the west need to understand the Islamic world's view of us . . . The fact is that our form of materialism can be offensive to devout Muslims - and I do not just mean the extremists among them.
Speech entitled Islam and the West, October 27 1993

On Shakespeare, art and metaphysics

I am one of those who do not believe, as the scientific rationalists seem to, that human consciousness is the product merely of brain processes, or that the cosmos is a huge machine to be examined, experimented with and manipulated by man for his own all-knowing purposes. There is more to mankind, in my view, than a mere mechanical object functioning in a mechanistic world, which has evolved from the clockwork universe of Newton to the computer models now deemed to possess artificial intelligence. Despite all the dramatic changes that have been wrought by science and technology, and the remarkable benefits they have brought us, there remains deep in the soul of each of us a vital metaphysical ingredient which makes life worth living . . . Great literature offers one of the keys to understanding these truths and to understanding ourselves.
Annual Shakespeare birthday lecture, April 22 1991

On fast food

We no more want to live in anonymous concrete blocks that are just like anywhere else in the world than we want to eat anonymous junk food which can be bought anywhere.
Speech at the Terra Madre (Mother Earth) conference, Turin, October 23 2004

On local culture

In Britain we are rapidly losing what is left of our local culture. When we finally wake up and find it all gone, it will not be possible to reinvent it - or grow it in a test tube.
Message to Suffolk Agricultural Association for their conference in February 2004

On what we can learn from slums

I came across a classic example of "collective intelligence embodied in centuries of tradition" when I visited a shanty town slum in Bombay recently . . . I was fascinated by the way in which human beings - almost like ants coming together intuitively to create a nest - instinctively coalesce when brought together in large numbers into an "urban form" which enhances that vital sense of community. And it is communities we must create.

On blue blood

What I want to know is; what is actually wrong with an elite, for God's sake?
Quoted in the Observer, 1985

Research by Jason Rodrigues and Alan Power.


Stephen Moss

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Catherine Bennett: Has Charles gone mad?
Catherine Bennett: In its latest bulletin from the frontiers of mental health research, the Daily Mail reports that Prince Charles seems to be, tragically, losing his tenuous hold on sanity, smashing china and losing his temper.

Catherine Bennett

09, Jan, 2003 @1:34 AM

How green is Charles?

The Prince of Wales warned yesterday that environmental issues are the 'greatest challenge' facing humanity. It's far from the first time he has spoken up for the planet. But does the heir to the throne practise what he preaches? Oliver Burkeman investigates.

27, Oct, 2005 @11:02 PM

Zoe Williams: on Tony Blair and Prince Charles
He mumbles and waffles. He bites his lip and frowns. He drops his eyes and fiddles with his cuffs. Tony Blair's bag of tics is starting to make him look like the heir to the throne. Zoe Williams watches two men who would be king.

Zoe Williams

11, Sep, 2006 @12:00 AM

Article image
Prince Charles and the Daleks: caption competition

What are Charles or Camilla (or indeed the Daleks) thinking at this meeting at the Doctor Who studio in Cardiff?

03, Jul, 2013 @11:43 AM

John Harris: An open letter to Prince Charles
John Harris: Though some people think Britain would be well-advised to take the republican-lite option of going all Scandinavian and ushering in a bicycling monarchy, we may as well whistle for it.

John Harris

24, Feb, 2006 @12:11 AM

Catherine Bennett: More from Prince Charles
Catherine Bennett: Some highlights from a dossier of the Prince of Wales's correspondence with government ministers.

Catherine Bennett

26, Sep, 2002 @1:35 AM

Catherine Bennett: Charles: the royal on the boil
Catherine Bennett: In a speech this week, Prince Charles suggested that people remember not to fill their kettles too full.

Catherine Bennett

18, May, 2005 @11:01 PM

Article image
Prince Charles – in the mood for dancing | Emine Saner
Emine Saner: Whether it's a jive, a samba or a frolic with a sword, Prince Charles seems to crowbar a boogie into most diplomatic trips

Emine Saner

19, Feb, 2014 @6:59 PM

Tim Dowling: How Prince Charles hijacked my night out

Tim Dowling: The royal family have in recent years been at pains to point out what a scant inconvenience they are to us: their upkeep, we're told, costs each commoner just 62p a year - less than a loaf of bread. But they don't seem much of a bargain when they go and spoil your night out.

Tim Dowling

04, Dec, 2006 @5:56 PM

Prince Charles' Canadian tour
The palace says it is pursuing a 'Marmite jar strategy' - modernising the monarchy so gradually that no one notices it happening. So what was different about Charles' latest tour? Not much, says Stephen Bates.

01, May, 2001 @2:19 AM