Historian calls for King Charles to 'apologise to Australians' over his 'utterly improper' actions amid Whitlam sacking
A historian has demanded King Charles “apologise to Australians” for an “utterly improper” breach of neutrality after it was revealed he weighed in on one of the most controversial events in Australian political history.
King Charles owes Australia an apology after it was revealed he wrote an “utterly improper” letter congratulating Governor-General Sir John Kerr for sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975, a historian has argued.
Professor Jenny Hocking - who won a High Court bid for the National Archives of Australia to release Buckingham Palace's correspondence with Sir John in the lead up to the infamous dismissal – said the monarch must publicly acknowledge his "astonishing" breach of neutrality.
The so-called “Palace Papers” revealed Charles penned the letter four months after Sir John dismissed Australia’s 21st Prime Minister over his scandal-ridden government.
“Please don’t lose heart,” Charles wrote in the declassified letter.
“What you did last year was right and the courageous thing to do and most Australians seemed to endorse your decision when it came to the point,” he wrote.
Professor Hocking said earlier correspondence showed Charles also spoke to Sir John about dismissing the Whitlam Labor Government two months before he took the history-making action.
“Charles was very much involved because of that critical conversation that he relayed to the Queen about the prospect of a possible dismissal,” the historian told The Scandal Mongers Podcast.
“He wrote a letter which was only released after my legal action in 2020 - which was an astonishing letter - some weeks after the dismissal, congratulating Kerr on his actions and saying 'stay strong'.
"Because Kerr was considering resigning after the uproar of it all.
“He said, ‘What you did was the right and proper thing to do'
"So we have a letter very strongly from our current head of state congratulating or at least encouraging the governor-general in the notion that this was the correct action to take."
Ms Hocking condemned the King, who was then 27, for his "lack of political foresight."
“I’ve been calling for our head of state .... to make an apology to the Australian people for ever engaging with our governor-general in those discussions," she told hosts Andrew Lownie and Phil Craig this week.
"And for his lack of political foresight by breaching neutrality in encouraging him (Sir John) subsequently in the way that he did."
"I think he needs to apologise to us and to acknowledge that that sort of political intervention was utterly improper.”
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