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Posts: 1,856
Reply with quote  #1 
I thought I'd collect some speeches and writings of HRH Prince Charles. I find HRH to be a fascinating and remarkably insight figure (for a modern). Many of these documents will be brief, and they will be taken from many disparate sources, but they should give a picture of the man and his beliefs.

The first is his message to the Temenos Academy, if which he is patron:

                         Message from HRH The Prince of Wales

The work of Temenos could not be more important. Its commitment to fostering a wider awareness of the great spiritual traditions we have inherited from the past is not a distraction from the concerns of every-day life. These traditions, which form the basis of mankind's most civilised values and have been handed down to us over many centuries, are not just part of our inner religious life. They have an intensely practical relevance to the creation of real beauty in the arts, to an architecture which brings harmony and inspiration to people's lives and to the development within the individual of a sense of balance which is, to my mind, the hallmark of a civilised person.

The principles for which Temenos stands are rooted, in my mind, to the interests of our children and our children's children and to the world they are to inherit from us. This concern for our traditions is not to deny progress. It rather represents a care to do what we can to ensure for future generations the survival of civilised values and the maintenance of that vital thread of the continuity of tradition that links past and future.

In the great spiritual traditions of the world it is understood that wisdom and compassion go hand in hand. But it is also understood that following this path requires both courage and conviction. I admire the courage and conviction of all those who are prepared to challenge the deadening effects of the 'industrialisation' of life itself, a process which carries no sensitivity to the qualities which go to sustain a truly civilised and harmonious society. I pray that the wise and compassionate work for which Temenos stands will prevail. I myself will do all I can to help, preserve and encourage it.



Posts: 1,856
Reply with quote  #2 
HRH Prince Charles gave a foreword to Ira B. Zinman's Shakespeare's Sonnets and the Bible. It is a fascinating, as is the book itself.

Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales

Shakespeare’s poetry is surely miraculous. Each of his lines instantly reveals multiple layers of meaning. In his own day they would not just have served those in his audience who were there simply for the action and the apparent drama of his plays but also those, like him, who were steeped in the esoteric learning of the Platonic tradition. These people would have discerned the far deeper meaning of his words, recognising, no doubt, what it was in Shakespeare’s art "giving invention light". As Ira Zinman so clearly demonstrates in this admirable work of scholarship, when Shakespeare was away from the theatre he was able in his more private sonnets to speak directly to this particular audience by stripping away apparent narrative and getting to the very heart of things.

By enchanting us with his poetry, Shakespeare opens our minds to the Divine. He, more than any other poet I can think of, understood the importance of symbolism. The constant allusions in his sonnets to the beloved are all references to the Divine spirit for which the human soul longs and this, for me, makes him a figure of universal importance, for he shows us in language so easy to understand that, whichever tradition we may be born into, it is only by attending to the spiritual dimension of our being that we may properly know what it is to be alive.

Our present age, alas, has lost the ability to read this symbolism which is not an arbitrary system of labelling. It is specific to the very nature of things and has the capacity to heighten our awareness of the unity to be found in all of creation. That is to say the Divine: "In all external grace you have some part," as Shakespeare puts it in Sonnet 53. Such a symbol is like a shadow. It reveals to us a fleeting image of the object that casts it. But it is only in the hands of a great and universal artist like Shakespeare, whose vision of the inner, spiritual realm is so direct and whose practical skill with words so acute, that such symbols enchant us so completely. The shadows, as it were, become sharp and outstanding so that we become more profoundly aware of the inner knowledge of the heart.

This is a book that makes leafing compulsive. It demonstrates on every page Shakespeare’s deeper meaning. As Ira Zinman puts it in his commentary on perhaps the best known of Shakespeare’s sonnets, 18, "the secret is for Man to live in tune with timeless spiritual values". I hope that his meticulous endeavours here will help convey that secret to a world which is desperately in need of a much more sensitive response to the inner reality of things for, as Shakespeare and his truly enlightened contemporaries clearly understood, all of our external endeavours depend upon it absolutely.

"Foreword to Shakespeare’s Sonnets and the Bible" by HRH The Prince of Wales



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Posts: 2,517
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for sharing these.  
"For every monarchy overthrown the sky becomes less brilliant, because it loses a star. A republic is ugliness set free." - Anatole France

Personal Motto: "Deō regī patriaeque fidelis."

Posts: 46
Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you for posting these!

Posts: 1,856
Reply with quote  #5 
The moderators at the philosophy forum I run have lined up some interviews with certain contemporary philosophers. At some point I would love to ask HRH to do an online interview. Have no idea if he will accept, but it will be brilliant if he does. The questions will be primarily religious and philosophically themed, but we might be able to ask one or two that touch on monarchism and politics.

Posts: 7,535
Reply with quote  #6 
While I haven't read Zinman's book (and am not very likely to), I am sceptical of any attempt to impose some kind of overarching scheme on Shakespeare's work. He was passionate, earthy, profoundly humane, immensely prolific, diverse to a fault, and writing not only what pleased him but what would please audiences, that being his and his company's livelihood. He was not, going by the evidence of his work, especially concerned with matters of religion; it is there as part of the backcloth, the tapestry of life, but that is all.

The Sonnets are different from his dramatic work, highly personal, intensely focussed and often enigmatic, a riddle that has entranced the ages. He may not have intended to publish them at all; their first appearance, in an age before copyright protection, was from a publisher who somehow obtained a copy of the manuscript and simply put it out without reference to the author. Or that is how it would appear, though Shakespeare may have secretly colluded in this, we don't know.

Although we do actually know a fair bit more about Shakespeare's life than some (chiefly proponents of Shakespeare's work having been written by just about anyone but Shakespeare) would suggest, the man remains a mystery. And that is where I would prefer to leave him, rather than reduce him to an austere philosopher writing in code. While I have great respect for the Prince of Wales, for all the good he has achieved as well as for his position, I don't seem to agree with his views very often. Including, it would now seem, on Shakespeare.

Posts: 1,856
Reply with quote  #7 
Well, I adore Shakespeare. But I am far from an expert. I have only been beginning to truly get to grips with the critical and historical work upon him. This works points in so many directions. There is certainly much speculation. There is much that is uncertain and mysterious about Shakespeare's work and his life. It is hard, for example, to pin point Shakespeare's views about the Christian Church. He mocks Puritans (Angelo is perhaps the most clear example), and those involved with the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage were unlikely to be Puritans anyway. But whether he was a Catholic or Protestant, we do not know. Nor do we know, obviously, which kind of Catholic or Protestant he might have been (except unlikely to have been of the most extreme, Puritan kind). I would agree we must be circumspect when interpreting Shakespeare, and not run away too far into worlds of fancy. 

What my paltry reading in Shakespeare scholarship has impressed upon me is how much we can miss if we are not paying attention, or are not aware of the background or historical detail. H. J. Massingham, for example, with his great insight into rural England, draws attention to Shakespeare's profound knowledge of this England, especially his native Warwickshire and surrounding areas. He shows again and again where Shakespeare writes on its traditions, its crafts and husbandry, and its plant-life with the greatest of acquaintance and respect. Not only do lay readers often miss this, but even most scholars miss much of it - because they have not the knowledge of traditional rural and regional England that Massingham spent much of his adult life acquiring.

Another example, taken from the top of my head, is Shakespeare's use, reasonably openly of the symbolism of alchemy and spiritual alchemy. This is most clear in certain works, for example Romeo and Juliet is full of such symbolism. Ben Jonson uses this symbolism as well. But without a knowledge of this topic, and without looking out for it, one would miss it.

My understanding is that studies that have been done tracing Shakespeare's biblical allusions show his plays are replete with scriptural references. Early in his career the government banned overt references to biblical passages. His allusions vary from the obvious (such as Hamlet V. II., '"There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow", which is about as clear a paraphrase of a biblical verse as he could get away with) to the well-veiled. 

Zinman, I believe, is particularly influenced by Martin Lings's understanding of Shakespeare's religious and philosophical views, as is HRH for that matter. Lings and Zinman do not take Shakespeare to be a philosopher in the modern sense, or even like a doctor of the medieval schools. They take him to be something of a sacred, mystical poet, in the manner of Dante or the Sufi poets. Lings, I know, focused on his plays written in 1599 and after; those he believed represented Shakespeare's mature vision, artistically and spiritually. I am not fit to sift the facts and discover any great resolution to the matter. I do, though, think Lings makes a good point about the intense interest in human perfection Shakespeare shows in his later plays. As Lings puts, "when, after a certain maturity has been reached, play after play follows the same quest for human perfection, each play in its totality (over and above the marvellous variety of detail) hammering home the same message, we have no alternative but to conclude that Shakespeare was altogether preoccupied, at any rate for the last fifteen years of his life or more, by the same question that preoccupied Dante." Lings does do a good job of showing how the sort of spiritual journey to perfection he describes can be readily seen in Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, as well as Shakespeare's three last, great comedies.

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Reply with quote  #8 

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Reply with quote  #9 
I enjoyed this piece:

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hopefully, soon I will have time to dig out more speeches and writings of, or on, HRH.

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Reply with quote  #11 
HRH recently made an interesting speech at the concentration of the Cathedral of St Thomas Syriac Orthodox Church, in Acton, London:

Your Holiness, Your Grace Archbishop Athanasius,
Clergy and faithful of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
It gives me great happiness to be present at the consecration of the Cathedral of St. Thomas.  It is surely deeply encouraging, at a time when the members of the Syriac Orthodox Church in their homelands of Syria and Iraq are undergoing such desperate trials and such appalling suffering, that in Britain the Syriac Church is able to expand and gain in strength.  In this way the consecration of your Cathedral is indeed a notable sign of hope for the future.
In many ways, every consecration of a Christian church recalls the consecration of King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.  There, in the book of Kings, it is said that, when the Arc of the Covenant was brought into the temple, "the Glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord".  I can only pray that the divine glory may likewise fill this newly- consecrated house of God. 
While rejoicing in the beauty of this place of worship, at the same time it is perhaps worth remembering that the highest and ultimate temple of God is the human person.  As St. Paul says to the Corinthians, "Do you not know that you are God’s temple?" (I Cor. 3:16).  The Church of God exists not only in visible buildings such as the present, but also more profoundly in the invisible building formed from the living stones of the faithful.  So, as we consecrate this visible temple, let us also, each one of us, rededicate to our Lord the inner temple that is our own true self.
May the congregation of this Cathedral, and all the members of the Syriac Orthodox Church, wherever they may be, be blessed with the kind of courage and faith that can ultimately transcend the unbearable misery and anguish that have been so cruelly inflicted upon you, your loved ones and your brethren.

Posts: 1,856
Reply with quote  #12 
A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the I.S.U. Meeting on Climate Friendly Landscapes:

Secretary of State, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, I really am enormously grateful to you all for coming to today's meeting on "Climate Friendly Landscapes" and greatly appreciate the fact that you have taken the time from your busy schedules to attend.  Needless to say, I am very glad to hear from Justin that you have had what seems to have been a fruitful day of discussion on this vital issue…

If I may say so, my great hope is that today's meeting will lead to further decisive action, funding and research to support the cause of poverty reduction, sustainable landscapes, landscape restoration and more agro-ecological and resilient approaches to land use around the world.  It seems to me it is of absolutely critical importance that this should happen.  For, in my experience, the fertility and health of the soil is at the heart of everything.  As some of you may know, I have myself been an agro-ecological, organic farmer for the past thirty years or more – in fact, one of the main reasons for converting to such a system from the previously conventional, toxic one was to restore the health and fertility of the soil, apart from avoiding the over-use of antibiotics and the anti-microbial resistance that is otherwise created.  So I think I know what it will take to manage the soil more sustainably, but also what a transformative change is possible if this is done.

At C.O.P.21 last year, I was particularly heartened to learn of the launch of Minister Le Foll's 'Four per Thousand' Initiative and have followed its progress with close interest ever since, as I have too the admirable efforts of the German Government and I.U.C.N. to advance the cause of forest landscape restoration in the context of the Bonn Challenge – another vital and related international effort.
I genuinely believe, Ladies and Gentlemen, that if the world were truly to follow the central tenet of 'Four per Thousand' – which I take to be, at its simplest, an opportunity incumbent on all nations significantly to improve the organic content and health of their soils – it would make a remarkable contribution to the wellbeing, livelihoods, food security and resilience of farmers right around the world; to the health of the planet; and, above all, to addressing climate change through the consequent reduction of carbon in the atmosphere, including by reducing the impact of floods and droughts.

I am therefore immensely heartened to hear that some 180 governments and institutions have already signed up to the initiative and that more are expected to do so at C.O.P.22 in a few days' time.  This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is not a moment too soon, bearing in mind the latest, most alarming rise in global temperatures and the breaching of the
400 p.p.m. C.O.2 barrier.  If we are not extremely careful there will be no going back.

In this morning's session, I understand that you heard an in-depth analysis of the latest scientific understanding on soil, forests and landscapes from the three distinguished scientists Professors Rattan Lal, Simon Lewis and Sir David King, and so, as a mere historian, I will refrain from further, unnecessary comment!  Suffice it to say that it appears evident from the science that something in the order of a third of global greenhouse gas emissions mitigation potential might be found in the more sustainable, long-term management of our farmed soils, along with the protection and restoration of the world's remaining forests and peatlands – a prize of absolutely critical importance.

However, as I understand it, the introduction of practices such as minimum-till and cover cropping, valuable as these techniques are in preventing further soil degradation, will not on their own reverse the catastrophic declines in soil carbon levels that we have witnessed in the world's croplands over the last forty years.
From my experience at least, only the introduction of rotations that are biologically based and which include a fertility- building phase would actually sequester atmospheric C.O.2 on the scale which is required.

Whatever the approach, it is clear that "doing the right thing" by our soils, our forests and our peatlands would make a remarkable contribution to the fulfilment of the S.D.G.s and the Paris Agreement – whose ratification has happened so encouragingly quickly in recent months.   But, at the end of the day, will we be able to take the necessary, urgent steps – or will there be the usual procrastination, argument and denial that have so bedevilled any meaningful progress in addressing ever more dangerous climate change?

I can only hope and pray, Ladies and Gentlemen, that governments, international institutions, scientists, companies, farmers' organizations and others will act with renewed determination to protect, cherish and restore their soils, forests and peatlands before the situation becomes irreversible, as climate scientists are constantly warning.

What a wonderfully positive difference it would make to the lives of farmers and rural communities right around the world - from the U.K. to Sénégal, the U.S. to Argentina, from France to India, and from Brazil to the Middle East - if farmers and rural communities, who are the first to suffer from the rigours of a changing climate, as well as from the damage to the health, ecology and biodiversity of the natural environment upon which they (and we) wholly depend, could be properly rewarded for being good stewards of their land, including their soil carbon…

It is also worth noting, I would have thought, given the vulnerability of these family farmers – so many of whom are themselves food insecure – and the communities which they support, that any such measures to increase their wellbeing would also have a profoundly beneficial impact on social, economic and political stability, and therefore security.

This meeting, Ladies and Gentlemen, and your role after it, will be absolutely critical in leading to the development of new partnerships, alliances and – above all – action on the ground to make a real difference in creating landscapes globally that are more resilient and which can play a key role in addressing climate change.
Your willingness to be here and your ability to pursue this issue is of profound importance, for which future generations will be truly grateful if - as we hope - you all succeed, and I much look forward to hearing about further, rapid progress of the 'Four per Thousand' initiative in the years ahead and to continuing to support all your efforts as they develop.


Posts: 1,856
Reply with quote  #13 
HRH has also made an interesting segment for the BBC radio four's Thought for the Day programme on the problem of religious persecution today, especially of Christians, and the need for religious freedom:

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