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Prince Charles' 'Black Spider' Letters Released in Second Batch

Image: Prince Charles' 'Black Spider' Letters Released in Second Batch
(Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 02:54 PM

Prince Charles’ correspondence with government ministers has become even more transparent with the release of a second batch of letters Thursday.

The government has made 17 of the letters public following a 10-year legal battle with The Guardian, according to the New York Daily News.

The releases are known as “black spider memos” due to Prince Charles’ distinct, black, spidery handwriting, according to the Mirror U.K. Throughout the letters, words are underlined and exclamation marks are used in a manner that has captured the nation’s imagination.

The letters to the Labour ministers sent between 2006 and 2009 show Prince Charles “expressing concern” over issues “he has raised in public,” such as affordable housing, healthcare, and historic site restorations, Clarence House said in a statement, according to the Daily News.

The first 27 letters were released last month after the government failed to block a freedom of information request made by The Guardian in 2005 in an April Supreme Court decision.

“In all these cases, the Prince of Wales is raising issues of public concern, and trying to find practical ways to address the issues,” the statement read.

The government argued to not release the letters because they included information on the future monarch’s personal views, and their publication would destroy his impartial appearance, according to The Associated Press.

As king, he would be expected to remain above politics, but as a prince, he has frequently expressed his own opinion, the AP reported.

The Mirror reported that Prince Charles has been accused of “meddling” in governmental affairs and, with the release of the letters demonstrating an attempt to influence Parliament, the tradition of royal neutrality could be ruined.

While the first set of letters featured more dramatic issues for which the prince argued, one of the strangest points in this set includes the prince’s plea to stop the spread of a smelly, poisonous flower known as ragwort, according to the AP.

In the first set of letters, former Health Secretary Charles Clarke was mocked for his flowery farewell, but a successor Andy Burnham had a similar signoff.

“I have the honor to remain, Sir, your Royal Highness's most humble and obedient servant,” Burnham wrote, the AP reported.

According to the Mirror, the similarity suggests the wording could be suggested by civil servants.

Burnham’s predecessor Alan Johnson used “yours sincerely.”

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Prince Charles’ correspondence with government ministers has become even more transparent with the release of a second batch of letters Thursday.
prince charles, letters, released, government
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2015-54-04
Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 02:54 PM
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