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Ruling shields Prince Charles’s letters from scrutiny

A British official overruled three judges concerning Prince Charles’s letters to government officials.

Chris Jackson, AP Pool-File)

A British official overruled three judges concerning Prince Charles’s letters to government officials.

LONDON — No, you cannot read Prince Charles’s letters to British government officials.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve on Tuesday overruled three judges who decided last month that the public had a right to see what sort of advice the prince was offering to the government.

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Charles has been open about his opinions on a range of subjects. But Britons reading the ‘‘particularly frank’’ letters might not think the prince is politically neutral, as a monarch must be, thus undermining the institution, Grieve said.

‘‘Much of the correspondence does indeed reflect the Prince of Wales’s most deeply held personal views and beliefs,’’ Grieve said.

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The letters ‘‘contain remarks about public affairs which would in my view, if revealed, have had a material effect upon the willingness of the government to engage in correspondence with the Prince of Wales, and would potentially have undermined his position of political neutrality.’’

Britain’s constitutional monarch has no political power, but meets regularly with prime ministers and other senior politicians to talk about events of the day.

Grieve decided that the prince’s letter-writing was part of his preparation to succeed his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, to the throne. It has been a lengthy education, with Charles, 63, standing next in line since 1952.

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The decision angered opponents who want more disclosure.

Associated Press

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