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Charles consent laws 'to stay same'

The Prime Minister has no plans to change laws which require the Government to gain the consent of the Prince of Wales to pass legislation which might impact on his private interests, Downing Street has said.

Documents released to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act show that ministers have sought consent from Charles on at least a dozen government bills since 2005.

The Prince's consent is required if the bill affects the interests of the Duchy of Cornwall - the multi-million pound estate which provides the heir to the throne with his £18 million a year private income.

Subjects covered ranged from gambling to the London Olympics, wreck removals, co-operative societies, coroners, economic development and construction, marine and coastal access, housing and regeneration, energy and planning, said the paper.

Downing Street declined to confirm whether any planned legislation had been blocked or amended as a result of objections from the Prince.

A spokeswoman for Number 10 said that it was established protocol, as set out in the parliamentary bible Erskine May, that "the Prince's consent is required for a bill which affects the rights of the principality of Wales, the earldom of Chester or which makes specific reference to or makes special provision for the Duchy of Cornwall".

The latest edition of Erskine May adds: "The Prince's consent may, depending on circumstances, be required for a bill which amends an act which does any of these things. The need for consent arises from the sovereign's reversionary interest in the Duchy of Cornwall."

Asked if David Cameron - who last week reached agreement with Commonwealth states on changes to the rules on succession to the throne - had any plans to update the arrangement, the spokeswoman said: "I know of no plans at the moment to look into it."

Clarence House said any correspondence was a "private matter" but that the long-standing convention was not about seeking the Prince's personal opinions.

The Prince's spokesman said: "Parliamentary procedure determines that the Prince of Wales in his capacity as the Duke of Cornwall may be required to give his consent to bills directly affecting the interests of the Duchy."

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