At a moment of such alarming disconnection between the political class and the electorate, it is cheering to be reminded that not every part of our constitution is faltering, or at odds with the grain of public opinion. On Tuesday, the Prince of Wales addressed the Royal Institute of British Architects, 25 years after his famous attack on the proposed National Gallery extension as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’. At the time, he was mocked as a fogey and a reactionary. But his cry from the heart against the vandalism wrought by modern architecture proved to be the act of a popular tribune — not least because it reflected common sense as opposed to Corbusian delusion.
This week, the heir to the throne came to Riba in the spirit of friendship rather than to gloat, but — quite rightly — stood his ground. He remains implacably opposed to the ‘brutal destruction’ of so many British townscapes and the way in which ‘much of the urban realm [became] …de-personalised and defaced’.
This was a spirited and sensible intervention by the Prince. With Parliament effectively AWOL as it sorts out its affairs, it is good to know that our constitutional monarchy is still in such good health.