Prince Charles Does Not Think Being King Is Like Being In “Prison”

The author of the Time magazine feature has clarified that the quote about Prince Charles viewing the throne as a “prison” was taken out of context.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is seen during a reception to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Duchy originals products at Clarence House on September 11, 2013 in London, England. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Updated - 25 October, 9:37 a.m. BST:

In Time magazine’s profile of Prince Charles, it was reported one of the heir’s “aide” had revealed that the Prince of Wales fears a “form of prison monarchy.”

Time spoke to 50 different people close to Prince Charles for the feature, and it was reported the featured described him as “joylessly” taking on royal duties and far from “itching to assume the crown.” It was also said he was trying to get as much done before “the prison shades” close.

There was a bit of a media storm surrounding the quote.

Many had little sympathy for Prince Charles:

Prince Charles thinks being an unelected head of state with almost limitless financial resources is "a kind of prison". I have no words.

— PrimlyStable (@Primly Stable)

While at least one person felt a bit bad for him:

Prince Charles, born into royalty and never able to escape. And will be hated by many regardless of what he does. Poor man.

— JaeKay (@Jae Kay)

Do not pretend there is an escape for Prince Charles. It is either "become King" or "spend the rest of your life hiding from the media"

— JaeKay (@Jae Kay)

However, the journalist who wrote the feature told BBC Radio 4 that the Prince never said “prison”:

Catherine Mayer says Prince Charles "did not use the word 'prison'," and the British press has "sexed up" her profile of him. #r4today

— BBCr4today (@BBC Radio 4 Today)

In addition to her clarification on BBC Radio 4, Mayer appeared on Sky News to clarify the “prison” quote, saying that she did not write in her article that an “aide” had said that Prince Charles had viewed the monarchy as a prison.

“This isn’t about not wanting to be king… he has very little time, and what the problem is, if there is a problem, is that if he takes on more and more of the Queen’s duties…this is a man who already has every hour of his day planned out…

“Just to be clear, I am not saying that people in his household are saying that in anyway he is unwilling or not wanting to be king or to perform the duties of a monarch.”

When the Sky News anchor asked to confirm that the prison quote came from a member of his household, not the Prince, Mayer said:

“Yes, it is certainly not the Prince and he did not say that and would not say that. It is not his position and what the quote was talking about was the restriction on time. The person in question was not in any way suggesting that he views being monarch as a prison, that would be a completely inaccurate understanding of it.”

She added that the media’s reaction to quote “really amuses” her as she felt there was a huge disconnect between the Prince’s public persona and who he really is, due to the way his life is reported in Britain.

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