The royals are expected to understand that party politics and individual politicians are off-limits for public comment. The monarchy’s website states: “As head of state, the Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters.” By convention, other members of the family have to follow suit.
However, the Prince of Wales has sometimes crossed this line and “meddled” in political matters.
In 2014, Russia accused Prince Charles of making outrageous and low remarks in comparing Mr Putin with Hitler.
The furious response to the Prince’s comments came before a meeting with the Foreign Office, which was demanded by the Russian embassy in London.
In a statement, the embassy said: “The outrageous remarks made by Prince Charles in Canada will be among the questions raised. The embassy asked the FCO for official clarifications on that yesterday.”
Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, underlined the Kremlin’s anger.
He told a news conference: “If these words were truly spoken, then without doubt, they do not reflect well on the future British monarch.
“We view the use of the western press by members of the British royal family to spread the propaganda campaign against Russia on a pressing issue – that is, the situation in Ukraine – as unacceptable, outrageous and low.”
The prince is reported to have made his comments during a private conversation with a Jewish survivor of World War 2 about the dispute over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
He told Marianne Ferguson, a volunteer at the Canadian Museum of Immigration: “Now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler.”
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Russia’s second most senior diplomat in the UK, Alexander Kramarenko, the embassy’s minister counsellor, also attended the meeting with the Foreign Office.
Russia was seeking clarification about what exactly the Prince said.
A Foreign Office source said UK ministers would have not got involved.
Russia’s decision to seek the meeting suggested the Kremlin was more angered by the remarks than it had let on.
Russian officials had not immediately responded to the remarks, and Russian TV channels had remained unusually quiet on the issue.
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The popular Russian daily paper Moskovskij Komsomolets said the remarks risked “triggering an international scandal” and complicating “clouded” UK-Russian relations.
There was a mixed reaction from Britain’s political leaders.
Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, offered the prince some backing by claiming that many in Britain shared the prince’s concern about Mr Putin and his actions in Ukraine.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron refused to be drawn on the issue.
Nigel Farage, the then-Ukip leader, who had expressed admiration for Mr Putin in the past, said Charles was wrong to make his views known.
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