Badgers, beef, fish: Letters show Prince Charles' passions

Badgers, beef, fish: Letters show Prince Charles' passions

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LONDON (AP) — Britain's government on Wednesday published a series of letters between Prince Charles and senior officials, written about a decade ago, that have been kept private until now.

The correspondence provides a glimpse of Charles' writing style, as well as his efforts to influence officials on topics from badgers and albatrosses to climate change.

Here are some excerpts:



Charles mostly stayed away from hard politics, but did on one occasion raise his concerns about cuts to the defense budget.

Writing about the delayed replacement of military aircraft, he said: "I fear that this is just one more example of where our Armed Forces are being asked to do an extremely challenging job (particularly in Iraq) without the necessary resources."

— To Tony Blair, Sept. 8, 2004



"Every support must be given to beef farmers so that they can seize the new opportunities and cope with the reduction in support — in other words they must be encouraged to co-operate and learn about marketing. ... I wondered if it would be possible for the government to channel funds specifically to help the beef sector ...?"

"So much depends on the consumer demanding British produce and I only wish that more could be done to encourage people to buy British ... it would be splendid if the Government could find innovative ways to give the necessary lead."

— To Tony Blair, Sept. 8, 2004



"I do urge you to look again at introducing a proper cull of badgers where it is necessary. I, for one, cannot understand how the 'badger lobby' seem to mind not at all about the slaughter of thousands of expensive cattle, and yet object to a managed cull of an over-population of badgers — to me, this is intellectually dishonest."

— To Tony Blair, Feb. 24, 2005



"I particularly hope that the illegal fishing of the Patagonian Toothfish will be high on your list of priorities because until that trade is stopped, there is little hope for the poor old albatross, for which I shall continue to campaign."

The decline of the albatross is thought to be linked to unregulated fishing.

Charles also raised the question of whether the Royal Navy could play a role in tackling illegal fishing.

"I am probably being very ignorant about all this, so please forgive me, but is the Royal Navy, for instance, included in the discussions on this issue? I daresay you will tell me there are all sorts of legal problems that prevent any worthwhile action...!"

— To the Fisheries Minister, Oct. 21, 2004



"Do rest assured that you have a great deal of support and all I would say is that you may find it worthwhile to explore not just what industry can do to cut emissions, but also the wider community. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference and would engage the public in the whole subject in a way that simply focusing on industry's role will not."

— To Tony Blair, Feb. 24, 2005



Charles, long known as a champion of alternative medicine, complained about a European Union directive on herbal medicines.

He wrote that the directive "is having such a deleterious effect in this country by effectively outlawing the use of certain herbal extracts."

"I think we both agreed this was using a sledgehammer to crack a nut."

— To Tony Blair, Feb. 24, 2005



Charles repeatedly apologized for pestering a minister on the redevelopment of an old hospital.

"I think you will know by now — to your cost! — that these are matters about which I care deeply — chiefly because I have witnessed so many failed opportunities to create imaginative, and innovative heritage-led regeneration initiatives ... At the risk of being a complete bore about this, I do pray that we could discuss these matters more fully."

— To former health secretary John Reid, Feb. 24, 2005

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