- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2002

LONDON Prince Charles' private anger over government plans to ban fox hunting has become public, with newspapers obtaining letters in which he complains of political correctness run amok.
"I and countless others dread the very real and growing prospect of an American-style, personal injury culture becoming ever more prevalent in this country," Prince Charles wrote in a letter sent to Lord Chancellor Irvine, head of the judiciary in England and Wales.
"Such a culture can only lead ultimately to an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion, let alone the real fear of taking decisions that might lead to legal action," the 53-year-old prince wrote.
In the letter, the prince also criticizes the "absurd degree of politically correct interference" infecting British society.
The latest disclosure by Britain's Daily Mail tabloid follows reports over the weekend that Prince Charles had also written Prime Minister Tony Blair expressing his anger over the pending ban on fox hunting.
A spokeswoman for the prince defended the letters yesterday, saying: "It's part of the royal family's role to highlight excellence, express commiseration and draw attention to issues on behalf of us all."
She said the prince "takes an active interest in all aspects of British life and believes that as well as celebrating success, part of his role must be to highlight problems and represent views in danger of not being heard."
She would not comment on reports in the Daily Mail that Prince Charles writes to Mr. Irvine on average once every two weeks, and that Mr. Irvine had complained about being "bombarded."
In one letter, Prince Charles attacked the government over a new hygiene law that forbids volunteer workers from cooking meals at home to be reheated at residential homes for the elderly.
"In order to protect the elderly from a tiny but theoretical risk, a whole section of volunteers is in danger of being alienated. These sort of people will not volunteer if they are patronised or if regulation makes it impractical.
"This, I would contend, is the underlying danger of an increasingly over-regulated society," he said.
In his letter to Mr. Blair over fox hunting, he is reported to have said: "If we, as a group, were black or gay, we would not be victimised or picked upon."
Details of the letter were published Sunday, on the day that nearly 400,000 countryside protesters converged on London to rally against the ban and other rural issues.
The leak was seen by royal commentators as an attempt by the government to discredit Prince Charles by focusing on the elite element of the sport, and thus easing the pressure on Mr. Blair.
Technically, Prince Charles is entitled to air his views because he is not the monarch.
But one Labor member of Parliament, Ian Davidson, said: "This is someone who was born with a mouthful of silver spoons, a mega-wealthy farmer who's looking for things to do, so he fires off letters."
"If he wants to be a constitutional monarch, part of the tradition of the constitutional monarchy is that he doesn't interfere in party politics."

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