Prince Charles tried to halt the American invasion of Afghanistan to ‘honour’ Ramadan.
He made the plea to the US ambassador to London four weeks into the huge military operation launched after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The startled envoy asked the prince, ‘Sir, are you really serious?’ according to a book being serialised from today by the Daily Mail. Charles’s intervention appears to have been made behind the back of then prime minister Tony Blair.
Last night an officer who led UK forces in Afghanistan said the prince’s request was absurd. Critics described it as grossly irresponsible. Politicians in the UK are used to the prince trying to meddle in policy and his handwritten ‘black spider memos’ are legendary.
Twenty thousand American and British troops were ordered to Afghanistan by George W Bush and Mr Blair in October 2001 because the ruling Taliban had refused to give up Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
Around a month into the offensive – and two weeks before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – Charles placed an ‘urgent call’ to William Farish, Washington’s ambassador to London.
Interviewed for the new biography of Charles, Mr Farish recalled: ‘Prince Charles asked me if it would be possible to stop the invasion to honour Ramadan, and if I could convey that request to President Bush.’
The ambassador explained it would be rather difficult to halt a military invasion already in full swing, but the prince allegedly protested: ‘But Americans can do anything!’
The envoy asked: ‘Sir, are you really serious?’ and the heir to the throne replied, ‘Yes I am’.
The extraordinary exchange is revealed in Prince Charles: The Passions And Paradoxes Of An Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith. The respected historian based the biography on interviews with more than 300 friends, family and associates of the prince.