Private remarks by the Prince of Wales on Boris Johnson’s government’s refugee policy led to sharp attacks on the heir to the throne by British ministers and the London right-wing press over the weekend. At the same time, they drew additional attention to the planned mass deportation of refugees to Africa, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

In April, London agreed with the Central African state of Rwanda that Great Britain could fly in tens of thousands of asylum seekers who were not wanted in England itself and, as it were, unload them. In return, Rwanda will receive hundreds of millions of pounds in development aid.

With the mass deportation, Home Secretary Priti Patel hopes to stop the further influx of people across the English Channel and deter potential boat refugees – whom she regards as “illegal migrants”. The plan has been condemned in Britain by opposition politicians, human rights lawyers and refugee organizations as “totally inhumane” and “downright unbelievable”.

The liberal London Guardian spoke of an “expulsion maneuver” with “echoes from the colonial era” that was “as cruel as it was cynical”. However, a statement by Prince Charles found a very special response.

According to the conservative Times, the prince told an acquaintance in a private conversation that he found the idea of ​​the Rwanda flights “outrageous”. Charles said he was “more than disappointed” with government policy.

Since it was not a public statement by the prince, Charles did not exceed the limits set for him, British constitutional experts said. “He never gave a speech attacking government policy,” the Times admitted. At court it was emphasized that Prince Charles would of course remain “politically neutral”. He does not try to influence anyone and does not interfere in political issues as a matter of principle.

Disgruntled Conservatives, however, pointed out that Charles had repeatedly expressed very specific opinions and written hundreds of letters to ministers over the past few decades. “Stay out of politics, Charles,” the “Sunday Express” harshly instructed the future king in huge letters on its front page.

Cabinet members, who asked not to be named, warned the prince that he would no longer be able to afford “interference of this kind” as a monarch. Charles had apparently “misunderstood his role,” reprimanded a minister.

For Prince Charles, the publication of his views on the Rwanda flights is all the more uncomfortable because at the end of the month he will chair the big Commonwealth summit, which is taking place in Rwanda’s capital Kigali of all places, on behalf of his mother. For his part, Boris Johnson reiterated his country’s “world-leading partnership” with Rwanda. London’s “Migration and Development Assistance Treaty” with Rwanda is an agreement between two independent states and has nothing to do with the Commonwealth.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the week it was still uncertain whether the flights would actually take place. In a first court decision last Friday, the High Court in London gave the green light for the operation. Further submissions to the court are to be submitted on Monday.