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DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Prince unwise to wade into divisive debates


The Prince of Wales is a thoughtful and sympathetic family man whose heart is undoubtedly in the right place.

A product of the modern age, his style is more personal and informal than most of his royal forebears and he is clearly keen to engage with the world around him.

Like so many of us, he will be upset by the terrible images emerging from Gaza since Israel began military action to eradicate Hamas after the October 7 terror attacks.

So on one level, William’s impassioned intervention in the crisis is understandable. ‘Too many have been killed,’ he lamented, adding that he wanted to ‘see an end to the fighting as soon as possible’.

Few would disagree with his plea for more humanitarian aid for Gaza, nor his urging Hamas to release the remaining Israeli hostages. But he does need to recognise that this is potentially hazardous territory for him to step into. As future king, His Royal Highness must be scrupulously impartial.

Prince William, pictured at the British Red Cross HQ in London on Tuesday, has released an impassioned statement in which he says 'too many' have been killed' in the Gaza conflict

Prince William, pictured at the British Red Cross HQ in London on Tuesday, has released an impassioned statement in which he says ‘too many’ have been killed’ in the Gaza conflict

Prince William issued the royals' strongest statement yet on the Gaza conflict

Prince William issued the royals’ strongest statement yet on the Gaza conflict

He must avoid giving the appearance that he is taking sides on sensitive subjects, which could lay him open to accusations of abusing his constitutional position.

William is not an elected politician nor is he an activist. He is heir to the throne and, as such, must remain above the fray of day-to-day politics – as his grandmother, the late Queen, did with supreme skill for over 70 years.

When his father Charles was prince of Wales, he was criticised for meddling in national affairs. But his interjections, on pet preoccupations such as homeopathy and the environment, were relatively harmless.

William’s intervention in arguably the most divisive issue of the day has the potential to be far more dangerous. In particular, the timing of his words – on the eve of what turned out to be a highly toxic Commons debate on Gaza – will seem ill-judged to some.

Another concern is that he has set a troubling precedent. If the prince can issue a sympathetic royal statement on Gaza, what about for Ukraine, or the murder of Alexei Navalny, or the Uighur repression in China?

Some suspect Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has persuaded William to speak out, in order to put pressure on Tel Aviv. If so, that would be reprehensible.

The prince should realise that compromising the political neutrality of the monarchy will only give ammunition to those who believe the institution is past its sell-by date.

Our crippled military

With the world more unpredictable than it has been for many decades, it should be reassuring that Britain possesses an independent nuclear deterrent.

It shows other nuclear powers that if they use their weapons, they risk obliteration.

So the failed test-firing of a Trident missile from a Royal Navy submarine is more than a national embarrassment. Because our enemies know the weapon plopped straight into the sea, it also undermines our security.

Nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard arrives back at HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, Scotland following a patrol

Nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard arrives back at HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, Scotland following a patrol

This incident adds to the sense that the military, crippled by a shortfall of troops and equipment, woeful underfunding and hopeless procurement, has never been in worse shape in modern times.

To tackle this crisis, the Government must invest more in defence. And Defence Secretary Grant Shapps should spend more time at his MoD desk and less time apparently plotting a leadership campaign.

Pathetic Parliament

Sir Lindsay Hoyle was supposed to return dignity to the office of Commons Speaker after the bias and egomania of John Bercow.

But yesterday he disgraced himself by tearing up parliamentary procedure in a failed bid to spare Labour embarrassment during a debate on a ceasefire in Gaza.

Now he faces calls to quit. The Tories and SNP stormed out of the Chamber. And our narcissistic MPs taunted each other.

Westminster likes to think it is the mother of all parliaments. Instead, it behaves more like a sixth form debating society.



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