Private letters sent by Prince Charles to seven government departments in the U.K. will now never see the light of day, thanks to a veto by Britain’s Attorney General, the BBC reports.
Countering a court ruling last month that the now infamous ‘black spider letters’—named due to the scrawling nature of the Prince’s handwriting— must be released due their importance to the public interest, Attorney General Dominic Grieve said that the correspondence would jeopardize the Prince’s transition to the throne.
The original call for the publication of the Prince of Wales’ letters came as a Freedom of Information request from Guardian journalist Rob Evans. While the request was initially denied by the information commissioner, an appeals court decided that the 27 of the 30 letters should be published due to their classification as “advocacy correspondence,” according to the BBC. The Telegraph also reports that Prince Charles wrote dozens of letters to the BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson, which allegedly contain his views regarding the BBC’s programming.
The attorney general has since vetoed the ruling, claiming that “the ability of the Monarch to engage with the government of the day, whatever its political color, and maintain political neutrality is a cornerstone of the U.K.’s constitutional framework.”
Some anti-monarchy groups have responded with sharp criticism. Graham Smith, director of the group Republic, called it “an affront to democracy” and called the veto a “cover up” to hide blatant lobbying on the part of the heir to the throne.
“It’s an open secret that Prince Charles lobbies the government,” says Smith. “What the public has the right to know is what he is lobbying for and whether he is actually influencing policy.”
The Guardian reported that it would take the government’s ruling to the High Court in order to challenge the veto.