Prince Charles says he'll keep views to himself when king

LONDON (AP) — Britain's Prince Charles has pledged not to interfere in the affairs of state when he becomes king, seeking to dispel concerns about his past activism on issues ranging from global warming to architectural preservation.

In an interview for a documentary marking his 70th birthday, the heir to the throne told the BBC that he understands he will have to act differently when he becomes king. Britain's monarch is barred from interfering in politics.

"I'm not that stupid," Charles said when asked if his public campaigning would continue after he succeeds his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. "I do realize that it is a separate exercise being sovereign, so of course I understand entirely how that should operate."

The prince has caused disquiet in the past by expressing his commitment to organic farming, traditional architecture and environmental causes. In 2015, he lost a long court battle to prevent the disclosure of 27 letters sent to government officials on matters such as badger culling, fish protection, military readiness and the preservation of historic buildings.

20 PHOTOS
Queen Elizabeth and her son, Prince Charles, together through the years
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Queen Elizabeth and her son, Prince Charles, together through the years
Prince Charles with his mother Queen Elizabeth II, in 1969. (Photo by � Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
BURNLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 16: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales travel down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on the 'Pride of Sefton' barge on day 1 of a visit to the North West of England as part of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee Tour of the UK on May 16, 2012 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
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UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Great Britain, The Duchess Of Windsor, The Queen Elizabeth Ii And Prince Charles (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
BRAEMAR, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 2: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Queen Elizabeth II attend the Braemar Games Highland gathering on September 2, 2006, Scotland. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
A young Prince Charles in the back of a car with his mother, Queen Elizabeth II and his sister Princess Anne. (Photo by � Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 01: The Line Of Succession Of The British Monarchy - Queen Elizabeth II With Her Consort, Prince Philip Posing With Their Son Prince Charles, The Prince Of Wales, And His Son, Prince William. Three Generations Of The British Royal Family Gathered At Clarence House (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Duke Philip of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II welcome US President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at Windsor Castle during an official visit to England. (Photo by Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
BRAEMAR, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the annual Braemar Highland Games on September 6, 2014 in Braemar, Scotland. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) with her baby son Prince Charles, 1949. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Queen Elizabeth II greets her son Charles the Prince of Wales at a polo match at Windsor Great Park following the second day of Royal Ascot on June 16, 2004 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
These pictures of eight year old Prince Charles and his Royal parents - Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh - are the most informal ever taken of the baby Prince and his youthful mother and father. These pictures are from a film made for the British Newsreels Association in the grounds of Windlesham Moor, country home in Surrey of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke. PICTURE SHOWS: Family life at its happiest expressed in radiant smiles of Princess Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh and their infant son, Prince Charles. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Undated picture showing the Royal British couple, Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with their two children, Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and Princess Anne (R), circa 1951. (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)
The Queen & The Prince Of Wales Attend A Charity Polo Match At Guards Polo Club In Windsor. . (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
The Royal family share a joke with Geoff Capes as they attend the Braemar Highland Games in Scotland. Left to right are: The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Geoff Capes. 4th September 1982. (Photo by Kent Gavin/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (L), Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (C) and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talk on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on the final ceremonial day of the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London on June 5, 2012. Queen Elizabeth II led a grand carriage procession through London to mark her diamond jubilee Tuesday but faced the crowning moment of the festivities without her ill husband Prince Philip. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 05: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth II attend a thanksgiving service to mark her Diamond Jubilee at St Paul's cathedral on June 5, 2012 in London, England. For only the second time in its history the UK celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne today with a carriage procession and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral. (Photo by Suzanne Plunkett - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 08: (L-R) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales listens as Queen Elizabeth II delivers her speech during the State Opening of Parliament on May 8, 2013 in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the coalition government's legislative programme in a speech delivered to Members of Parliament and Peers in The House of Lords. Proposed legislation is expected to be introduced on toughening immigration regulations, capping social care costs in England and setting a single state pension rate of 144 GBP per week. (Photo by Jon Bond - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
BRAEMAR, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the annual Braemar Highland Games on September 6, 2014 in Braemar, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
CUMNOCK, SCOTLAND - JULY 02: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during a visit to Belling Hospitality Centre in the grounds of Dumfries House on July 2, 2014 in Cumnock, Scotland. The Queen viewed preparations for the Commonwealth Games as part of a week of engagements in Scotland. The monarch was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh on a visit to Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, where the uniform and accreditation centre for the 2014 Games is located. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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The "black spider" memos, so called because of Charles' cramped handwritten greetings and closings, were controversial because some saw them as inappropriate lobbying by the heir to the throne.

But Charles defended his past actions, including establishing the Prince's Trust in 1976 to help disadvantaged young people, saying he had always steered clear of party politics. He wondered aloud whether his interventions were really "meddling."

"If it's meddling to worry about the inner cities as I did 40 years ago ... if that's meddling, I'm very proud of it," he said.

The documentary captures the prince in both public and private, including images of him feeding vegetable scraps to his chickens and collecting their eggs at his Highgrove home.

It includes an interview with the prince's wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, who said Charles is driven by a need to help others.

"He's pretty impatient, he wants things done by yesterday as I think everybody who works for him will tell you. But that's how he gets things done. He's driven by this, this passion inside him to really help," she said. "He would like to save the world."

30 PHOTOS
Princess Diana and Prince Charles together
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Princess Diana and Prince Charles together
BALMORAL, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 06: Prince Charles With His Fiance Lady Diana Spencer During A Photocall Before Their Wedding While Staying At Craigowan Lodge On The Balmoral Estate (exact Day Date Not Certain) (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
BALMORAL - AUGUST 19: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a suit designed by Bill Pashley, pose for a photo on the banks of the river Dee in the grounds of Balmoral Castle during their honeymoon on August 19, 1981 in Balmoral, Scotland. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 29: On July 29, 1981, Lady Diana SPENCER (aged 19) married Prince CHARLES (aged 32) at Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 29: Prince Charles And Princess Diana On The Balcony Of Buckingham Palace On Their Wedding Day. The Princess Is Wearing A Wedding Dress Designed By David And Elizabeth Emanuel. The Prince Is Wearing Naval Dress Uniform. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDRES, ROYAUME-UNI - 10 MARS: Lady Diana et le Prince Charles discutant avec la Princesse Grace de Monaco au Goldsmith's Hall, le 10 mars 1981 a Londres, Royaume-Uni. (Photo by Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Queen Elizabeth joins the Prince and Princess of Wales on a Buckingham Palace balcony following their London wedding. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive back at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland after their honeymoon, September 1981. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales at the Braemar Highland Games in Scotland, September 1981. She wears a tartan suit by Caroline Charles and a tam o'shanter hat. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Prince Charles Prince Charles and the Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997, later Diana, Princess of Wales) at Caernarvon Castle during an official tour of Wales, 27th October 1981. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 22: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales leave St Mary's Hospital in Paddington with their baby son, Prince William (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Princess Diana at Uluru, Northern Territory on 21 March 1983. . (Photo by Gerrit Fokkema/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 04: The Prince And Princess Of Wales With The Queen Attending The Braemar Games In Scotalnd (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Melbourne, Australia: Princess Diana and the Prince of Wales share a joke with Australian comedian Paul Hogan at a gala performance in Melbourne, April 14th.
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) and Prince Charles arrive for a state reception in Hobart, Tasmania, 30th March 1983. The princess is wearing the Spencer family tiara and a dress by Bruce Oldfield. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 28: The Prince And Princess Of Wales Attending A Charity Ball In Sydney During A Trip To Australia (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) and Prince Charles leaving St Mary's Hospital, London with their new-born son Prince Harry, September 1984. The Princess is wearing a red coat by Jan van Velden. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) and Prince Charles at an Italian naval base at La Spezia, 20th April 1985. Charles is wearing a naval Commander's uniform, while Diana is wearing a white coat dress by Catherine Walker. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales visit a church in Florence during their tour of Italy, April 1985. The Princess is wearing a suit by Jasper Conran. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
VATICAN - APRIL: Diana Princess of Wales with Prince Charles have an audience with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, Rome, Italy in April 1985 during the Royal Tour of Italy.Diana wore a black lace dress designed by Catherine Walker. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) and Prince Charles on a skiing holiday in Malbun, Liechtenstein, January 1985. The princess is wearing a Head ski suit. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
WINDSOR - JUNE 29: Princess Diana, Princess of Wales kisses Prince Charles, Prince of Wales as she presents him with an award following a charity polo match at Windsor Great Park on June 29, 1985 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 9, 1985: (FILE PHOTO) In this file photo issued October 31, 2005, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana, the Princess of Wales meet President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Mrs Nancy Reagan at the White House on November 9, 1985 during an official visit to America in Washington DC, USA. Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales is taking his new wife Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall on a visit to the United States which begins formally on November 1, 2005 (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 03: The Prince And Princess Of Wales During A Visit To Vancouver, Canada. She Is Wearing A Suit Designed By Fashion Designer Bruce Oldfield (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON - AUGUST 4: Prince Edward, Viscount Linley, Prince Charles, Diana, Princess of Wales and the Queen at the Queen Mothers 87th birthday celebration on August 4, 1987 at Clarence House in London, England. Diana wore a dress designed by Catherine Walker. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 26: The Princess Of Wales Presents A Medal To Her Husband, Prince Charles, After A Polo Match At Windsor (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30: Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at the Central Coast Surf Carnival at Terrigal Beach, Sydney, Australia (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 15: The Prince And Princess Of Wales attend a desert picnic on March 15, 1989 in Adu Dhab, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 16: The Prince And Princess Of Wales On A Walkabout In Dubai On The Gulf Tour. Diana's Outfit Is By Fashion Designer Catherine Walker And Hat By Milliner Philip Somerville. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997), wearing a Belville Sassoon dress, presenting Prince Charles with a trophy after competing at the Hola Cup polo match at the Guards Polo Club, Windsor, 29th June 1988. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
PARIS - NOVEMBER: Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales meet guests arriving at a dinner in the Elysee Palace in Paris, France in November 1988, during the Royal Tour of France. Diana wore a dress designed by Victor Edelstein. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
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