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UK government to publish Prince Charles secret letters

13 May 2015, 17:25

London - Prince Charles' secret letters to government officials are set to be released to the public Wednesday after a long court battle.

The memos to various governmental departments have long been sought via a Freedom of Information Act request by Guardian newspaper journalist Rob Evans.

Also read: Prince Harry: I'd like to have children soon

The court case relating to memos written a decade ago to the Labour Party government led by Prime Minister Tony Blair has pitted Charles' right to privacy against the public's right to know.

The government has sought for years to keep the letters out of the public domain for fear that publishing them might damage public perceptions of Charles' neutrality, which is required for a future monarch.

The 27 contested letters have been called the "black spider" memos because of Charles' cramped handwriting style.

The government was ordered to release the letters in 2012 after losing its court case. But the attorney general vetoed the decision, arguing that Charles' letters were part of his preparation to become king and should be kept private.

That was upheld by one court, but then overturned in 2014 by the Court of Appeal, which decided there was no justification for overturning the earlier freedom-of-information decision.

Britain's Supreme Court in March supported that ruling, leading to Wednesday's planned publication of the memos. It is expected the government will make some redactions before publication.

As heir to the throne, Charles is expected to stay out of political matters. He has in the past expressed views about architecture, genetically modified food and climate change.

Charles has said he is disappointed his privacy will not be upheld.

- AP


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