• Hereditary heir to British throne criticises those with ‘ideas above their station’
• Such as former secretary, who is claiming unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination
• More unwelcome ructions from Clarence House for Monarchy
“People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability. This is the result of social utopianism which believes humanity can be genetically and socially engineered to contradict the lessons of history.” – Prince Charles
Story in full PRINCE Charles’s latest pronouncement on British society – that its schools are imbued with a culture of “social utopianism” responsible for people getting ideas above their station – was laid bare at an employment tribunal yesterday.
In a scathing memo, written to a third party in response to a request from a former Clarence House secretary for more training at work, Charles complained that young people nowadays think they can be pop stars, high court judges or even heads of state without putting in the work or having the “natural ability”.
The secretary in question, Elaine Day, was described in the memo by Charles as “so PC it frightens me rigid”.
Ms Day, who is claiming sex discrimination and unfair dismissal against the prince’s household, described it as “hierarchical and elitist”, an institution run in an “Edwardian fashion” where everyone knew their place and those who did not were punished.
A personal assistant to private secretaries at Clarence House for five years, Ms Day told the tribunal she was forced out earlier this year because she “rocked the boat at the palace”. She said she was left “isolated and humiliated” after complaining about sexual harassment from her boss, assistant private secretary Paul Kefford.
Clarence House has said it will “vigorously” contest the case, which is being heard in Croydon, south London, and is expected to last three days.
The memo was written by the prince in response to a suggestion by Ms Day that personal assistants with university degrees should be given the opportunity to train to become private secretaries, the hearing was told.
In the memo, the prince wrote: “What is wrong with everyone nowadays?
“Why do they all seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities?
“This is to do with the learning culture in schools as a consequence of a child-centred system which admits no failure.
“People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability.
“This is the result of social utopianism which believes humanity can be genetically and socially engineered to contradict the lessons of history.”
The memo concludes: “What on earth am I to tell Elaine? She is so PC it frightens me rigid.”
The note, dated March 2003, was a response to a suggestion made by Ms Day to Mr Kefford.
Ruth Downing, counsel for Ms Day, asked her what she understood it to mean.
“I completely felt that people could not rise above their station,” Ms Day replied.
The secretary, from Belvedere, Kent, said a campaign of discrimination had been launched against her in an attempt to “remind her of her place” at Clarence House.
Ms Day claimed the problems started after her former boss, Mark Bolland, then the prince’s deputy private secretary, left in August 2002 and she began working under Mr Kefford.
She said that she felt “uncomfortable” as soon as she started working for Mr Kefford.
“He would approach me from behind at the photocopier and put his hand on my back and rub it, He would also touch my arm and shoulders and that made me feel uneasy.”
She told the tribunal she was one of three female members of staff who were sexually harassed by the prince’s assistant private secretary. After an event in August 2002, she said: “I didn’t ever want to be put in a position where I was alone with him, ie working late at night, going into his office and shutting the door.”
She said that she first complained in August 2002 and made a formal complaint in October.
Ms Day said that when she raised her concerns to Prince Charles’s private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, he replied: “I thought he was gay.”
Ms Day said that, after her complaint, she had been subject to “continuing acts of discrimination, victimisation, harassment and undermining behaviour” by senior staff.
She said that she experienced “ongoing discrimination” until she left in April this year.
She added: “I was aware of a culture in the household, which stemmed from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, that the respondent [the prince’s household] would not welcome employees which it perceived rocked the boat. This was made abundantly clear to me.”
She told the tribunal how she had been “put in her place” on a particular trip to Holyrood Palace in June 2003. On that occasion, she was given an attic room to sleep in alongside domestic servants rather than a room with the rest of the office staff.
She said: “I appreciate that the fact that I had been confined to the attic with the domestic staff may seem a trivial matter, but working in the household it’s all about status, hierarchy and knowing one’s place.
“Putting me up in the attic with domestic staff, away from the other office staff, has clearly been done to humiliate me and remind me of my place.
“At the end of the day I am not the first person to consider that if you go against the palace, steps will be taken to isolate you.”
Ms Day added: “I simply felt that I had nowhere to turn, I felt totally isolated.”
The tribunal continues.