Charles comes in for flak for voicing opinion of Chelsea Barracks plans


A planning committee tours the Chelsea Barracks site this week following the announcement the Richard Rogers' plans had been scrapped after Charles stepped into the debate Photo: © Getty Images


Charles wrote a letter to the Quatari royal family, who are the developers for the site, echoing local residents' concerns about the designs being unsuitable, and suggesting something more classical
 Photo: © Getty Images

17 JUNE 2009

His championing of classical over modern architecture has annoyed architects in the past, and this week Prince Charles once again ruffled some feathers with his views on the subject. The heir to the throne was criticised by the architect whose £3 billion housing development was shelved after he objected to it.

Labour peer Lord Rogers' modernist design for the Chelsea Barracks site in London was dropped last week after Charles wrote to the developers, the Quatari royal family. The 61-year-old royal who has always taken a keen interest in architecture and famously once described a proposed extension to the National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle", called the plans "unsuitable" and suggested a more classical design. 

Lord Rogers said "Are we going to have royalty dictating to us modern art… their taste in music or their belief in medicine?... No because they're not experts any of those fields."

The designer called for an expert panel of constitutional experts to enquire into the political powers of the Prince. An Oxford professor of politics and government spoke up his defence, however, saying the Prince can make whatever contribution he wishes to public debate "as long as he is not partisan".

The academic added: "The fact that one does not agree with what he says does not make it unconstitutional."