‘Black Spider’ letters, Diana divorce: Charles’ biggest scandals

LONDON: Charles He has been a controversial king over the years, from his affair while married to Princess Diana, and alleged persistent political meddling, to occasional blunders and scandals with aides.
Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son has never had the same public affection as his mother, which may add to the challenges he now faces as king.
He has battled a series of public relations headaches dating back decades, including accusations of frigidity towards his ever-popular first wife Diana.
Despite the better press more recently, the tabloids had managed to fire him for seeming aloof and aloof.
Meanwhile, The Crown’s portrayal of his marital woes is unlikely to have garnered Charles much sympathy several decades after that turbulent time.
He has also faced accusations of meddling in politics on various issues covering architecture, homeopathy and climate change.
And in 2021 his most trusted aide resigned for the second time in his royal court career amid controversy.
“I think it’s all damaging, from ‘The Crown’ actually to everything that’s going on,” royal writer Penny Junor said in late 2021, as a cash-for-honors scandal involving Charles’ charity empire broke.
“None of this is good news. The Queen is well-loved, Charles is less loved. I think it will be difficult for him no matter what happens, but all these revelations are not helpful.”
Charles’ image suffered a devastating blow during his acrimonious split from Diana.
In her incredible 1995 interview in which she revealed her feelings about his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, Diana famously said “there were three people” in her marriage.
The royal couple made the bombshell announcement that they were separating in 1992, but after the fallout from the controversial meeting with the BBC’s Panorama program, they finally agreed to separate.
Giving her version of events — and admitting her infidelity — Diana revealed her struggles within Britain’s most famous family, criticizing the royals and questioning Charles’s fitness to be king.
She horrified parts of the British establishment, but gained public sympathy, which only increased after her death in a car accident in Paris in 1997.
Charles has long been blamed both for the extramarital affair, which was blamed for the divorce, and partly for his initial poor handling of the royal family. Diana’s deathwhen they were heavily criticized for appearing heartless and out of touch with the audience.
However, he gradually gained some support from the public and the disappointment that he found happiness with Camilla, whom he married in 2005.
Charles has courted controversy for speaking out and appearing to privately lobby politicians on a range of contentious public issues from health to the environment.
In a now infamous series of letters between himself and government ministers known as the “black spider” memos because of their scribbled graphicness, Charles quizzed them on a number of subjects.
Published in 2015 after a ten-year legal battle waged by The Guardian newspaper, they included the plight of the Patagonian Toothfish and his famous modernist building designs.
Charles’ opposition to the bold new design first came to public attention in 1984 when he likened plans to transform the National Gallery in London to adding a “monstrous torso to the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”.
The revelation of the “black spider” letters sparked backlash against the then-future king and concerns that he was overstepping his role.
However, in a 2018 interview to mark his 70th birthday, Charles insisted he never got directly involved in party politics and understood the difference between being Prince of Wales and a monarch.
More recently, Charles has been embroiled in an alleged cash-for-price scandal.
A series of newspaper revelations claimed that his close aides coordinated the project to grant royal honors and even British citizenship to a Saudi businessman who donated large sums to restoration projects of particular interest to Charles.
Michael Fawcett, his former valet who rose through the ranks to become chief executive of his charity, resigned in 2021 after an internal investigation into the allegations was launched.
It was the latest allegation to tarnish Fawcett — and, by extension, Charles.
In 2003, Fawcett resigned after being accused of breaking palace rules and accepting valuable royal perks.
He was later cleared of charges of financial misconduct relating to the sale of unwanted royal gifts, but an internal report found various members of Charles’ household guilty of “serious failings”.

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