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King Charles’ role in Northern Ireland deal raises eyebrows


“We don’t know whether he objected to it or not,” Professor Bogdanor said of the King’s meeting with Ms von der Leyen, “but either way he had to go along with it.”

What makes this episode murkier is that Charles, by instinct and experience, would be likely to embrace the Windsor Frame. The deal aims to strengthen the UK and reset relations between Britain and the European Union. Although the King has never spoken publicly on Brexit, he gave some insight into his views in a speech to the German Parliament in 2020, when he said that “no country is really an island “.

Additionally, Charles is a man of passionate political convictions who embraces causes, from climate change to organic farming, in a way that his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, never did. He was frustrated, people linked to the palace said, when the government of Mr Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, advised him not to attend the UN climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, l last fall.

Charles acknowledged after ascending the throne in September that he would have to give up all political involvement. He didn’t protest against the government’s advice to skip the climate conference, but instead hosted a glittering reception at Buckingham Palace ahead of the event; the guest list included John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, and Stella McCartney, the fashion designer and daughter of Paul McCartney, who has promoted sustainable manufacturing.

Climate change was one of the topics on the agenda of the king’s meeting with Ms von der Leyen, according to the palace, as was Russia’s war in Ukraine. Charles hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at Buckingham Palace earlier this month when he traveled to London to address Parliament and ask Britain to supply fighter jets to the army air Ukrainian.

Taking note of the visit, the government dismissed questions about the king’s meeting with Ms von der Leyen. “Ursula von der Leyen is a very high-level international representative,” Foreign Minister James Cleverly told LBC radio. “So it’s not unusual in our hospitality to international guests to facilitate a meeting.”

But Britain’s support for Ukraine is widely accepted by the political establishment. Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade status, by contrast, is the subject of an almost theological debate between hardliners from Mr Sunak’s Conservative Party and Northern Ireland Unionist politicians.

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