LONDON — Britain’s highest court cleared the way for 27 private letters written by Prince Charles to government ministers to be made public, the contents of which could prove deeply embarrassing for the royal family and prompt a debate over the proper role of the heir to the British throne.
The long-awaited ruling on Thursday by Britain’s Supreme Court caps a 10-year legal battle between the Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper, and the British government, which fought hard to prevent the letters from seeing the light of day.
In a short statement, Prince Charles’s press office at Clarence House, his London residence, said that they were “disappointed the principle of privacy has not been upheld.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the ruling was “disappointing” and that the government was now considering how to release the papers.
“This is about the principle that senior members of the royal family are able to express their views to government confidentially. I think most people would agree this is fair enough,” Cameron said.
Supporters of Prince Charles have argued that the letters could compromise his kingship — as the royal family states on its Web site, “the Sovereign must remain politically neutral.”