Unfortunately, Prince Charles is clearly nowhere near as powerful as Prof Ernzt; Charlie has been accused of being 'meddling' for his troubles, while Eddie was allowed to carry on his considered ministrations (family motto: 'I have not come to praise alternative medicine, I've come to bury it').
It all blew up in July 2005 when Prof Ernzt, who was professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, was sent a draft report on improvements within the National Health Service. The report, prepared by economist Christopher Smallwood and commissioned by Prince Charles's Foundation for Integrated Health, suggested that the service could save itself up to lb3.5bn if it introduced a few alternative therapies.
Although Ernzt had signed a confidentiality agreement in order to review the draft, there was no way he could keep quiet about what he saw as outrageous recommendations from Smallwood. He told a journalist: "It is based on such poor science, it's hair-raising. The Prince also seems to have overstepped his constitutional role."
On that, Prince Charles's private secretary Sir Michael Peat sent a letter of complaint to Exeter University's vice-chancellor, complaining about the breach of confidentiality.
Ernzt was put through a series of disciplinary hearings and investigations, but was cleared of any wrongdoing last December.
Now TV broadcaster Channel 4 has accused Prince Charles of 'meddling' in public affairs, such as health, organic farming, and planning.
Can't have someone trying to make the world a better place, can we?
(Source: The Observer, 2007; 11 March).
E-news broadcast 15 March 2007 No.342 [Subscribe]