It feels like ages since we’ve talked about the Prince Charles vs. Richard Rogers debacle. Arguably the architecture story of 2009, the news dragged on and on from June until around December, first when the anit-modern Charles managed to knock Rogers off the Chelsea Barracks project in London by complaining straight to the developers. That led to all sorts of other controversies, like the news that he’d also tried pushing away Jean Nouvel, which was followed by calls for investigating the Prince himself and his Foundation for the Built Environment. Whew. Now, after a welcomed six month break, the fight has returned with a ruling from the country’s High Court over the issue. Although not a total victory for Rogers and the company responsible for his now defunct plans, as the court said damages could be paid by the Qatari royal family who backed out of the deal, they won’t be receiving the original amount they’d asked for. However, the judge in the matter did speak ill of Prince Charles, saying his involvement was “unexpected and unwelcome.” This, of course, has spawned a million op-ed pieces in the British press, from the Guardian‘s couple worth reading, the Telegraph‘s pro-Prince piece, and the one with our favorite title, the Daily Mail‘s “Secret Web of the Black Spider Prince.” Here’s a couple of quotes, first from Richards on the ruling:
“I hope that this judgement demonstrates that similar interventions should be considered far more seriously before they are made in the future,” he added.
The president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) said after hearing the court evidence it appeared the prince had brought “inappropriate pressure” on the planning process.
“Behind-the-scenes influence would have been a huge hurdle to consider. No individual should use their position in public life to influence a democratic process such as planning,” Ruth Reed said.
Thus far, Charles himself hasn’t made an official statement on the matter, though his spokespeople have briefly said that the Prince is free to say what he wants, as is every citizen of the UK.