King Charles will ‘regret’ meeting with EU chief von der Leyen
Ann Widdecombe shares her views on Windsor Brexit Framework
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King Charles has been criticised for his involvement in the finalising of the so-called Windsor Framework Brexit agreement aimed at restoring power sharing in Stromont. DUP politician Sammy Wilson warned the monarch he will “regret” his decision to meet EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the future.
Speaking to The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, Mr Wilson said: “It’s a decision that the King will come to regret in the future.”
He added: “I don’t know whether it was his choice, or whether the Government persuaded him to do it, but I think it’s a very, very dangerous position for him to have taken.
“There’s no part of the United Kingdom that gives adherence to the Monarchy and respects the Monarchy as much as unionists in Northern Ireland all throughout the Troubles.
“As governments have come and gone, and governments have betrayed us, the one stable thing that stayed in that was the Monarchy.
“It’s a very, very dangerous thing that has been done. And don’t forget, this is just not the Monarchy taking sides in a dispute between the DUP and the Government.”
Mr Wilson added “the King has to explain” why he met with the Commission chief, adding: “But the one thing I do know is that it is a bad decision.
“And if he keeps going down this route and politicising the Monarchy, then the status that his mother had, he will never acquire.
“And he will put the Monarchy in jeopardy because people will simply see it as partisan rather than a national institution.”
Asked whether the party will issue a formal complaint to Buckingham Palace, he said: “We haven’t discussed whether we complain to the Palace.
“We don’t want to drag the Palace into our politics either. We have more respect for the Monarchy than that. And we don’t expect the Monarch to take sides with us because we recognise that that is dangerous.”
Speaking to Times Radio on Wednesday morning, Mr Wilson added: “I think first of all it’s really an indication the Government knew this deal was not a great deal and were trying to persuade unionists to accept it on the basis that we have great respect for the monarchy.
“To use the monarch in the way in which he has been used, I think, is a very, very dangerous thing.”
On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has rejected claims that the King was being drawn into political controversy over his meeting with von der Leyen.
Mr Cleverly denied ministers were politicising the monarchy following the meeting between the King and the Brussels official at Windsor Castle, which coincided with the agreement of a new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland.
Mr Cleverly insisted it was “not unusual” for the King to meet senior international figures while they were in the UK.
He pointed out that the King had met Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this month, although the Ukrainian President is a head of state, unlike Ms von der Leyen.
Mr Cleverly told LBC radio: “I genuinely don’t understand that argument. The other week President Zelensky came to the UK and, as a senior international guest, he had an audience with His Majesty the King.
“Ursula von der Leyen is a very senior international representative. It is therefore not unusual as part of our hospitality to international guests to facilitate a meeting.
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“It was our invitation for Ursula von der Leyen to come to the UK to finalise this deal with the Prime Minister. Of course that was a conversation we had with the Palace.
“The final decision on the availability of His Majesty is with the Palace.”
Asked who arranged Ms von der Leyen’s meeting with the King, Mr Cleverly told Sky News: “Decisions about the King’s diary are, rightly, for the Palace.”
Buckingham Palace said Charles was acting on “the Government’s advice”. Downing Street said it was “fundamentally” a decision for the King.
Government sources indicated Ms von der Leyen had requested the meeting, something later denied in Brussels.
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