REVEALED: The Secret Views That Hushed The Royal Family For Decades After The Resignation Of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam – When A Prominent Firm Member Forged A Close Friendship With A Top Official
- New letters indicate that Prince Charles supported Whitlam’s removal in 1975
- In a letter to the then Governor General, Charles said he should ‘not lose heart’
- Sir John Kerr had concealed his plan to remove Whitlam as Prime Minister from the Queen
A recently released private letter reveals that Prince Charles, the future king, endorsed the controversial dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975.
“Please don’t give up,” Charles wrote in a handwritten letter to Sir John Kerr, then Governor General, less than a year after parliament was dissolved.
The royal family had previously been silent on whether they supported Kerr’s shock move to remove Whitlam in what became known as the constitutional crisis.
The 1976 letter from Prince Charles to Sir John Kerr (pictured) shows the Prince of Wales supported Whitlam’s removal
Whitlam (pictured) outside Parliament House after being deposed as Prime Minister in 1975
“What you did last year was the right and brave thing to do – and most Australians seemed to be about to endorse your decision,” Charles wrote.
Sir John had been heavily criticized for moving in Australia, but the new letter reveals that Charles encouraged him not to resign or become “depressed” by the outrage.
‘I imagine you must have come in for all kinds of misinformed criticism and prejudice since seeing you in January and I wanted to let you know that at least I appreciate what you do and greatly admire the way you have performed (and continue to fulfill your many and varied duties, ”wrote Charles.
The Queen has always adhered to a policy of non-interference in Australian politics and made no comment on the removal of Whitlam – whose government was inundated with scandals and economic woes.
Charles’ letter is the first confirmation of support for Kerr’s decision.
The letters show that Charles and the palace were not aware of Sir John’s plan to sack Whitlam’s government in advance – in fact, they show that he was hiding his plan from the Queen and her representatives.
Prince Charles (pictured) endorsed Whitlam’s sack through the Governor General’s revealing letters
Sir John Kerr (pictured) was the Governor General who fired Whitlam and later documented his decision making in letters to Buckingham Palace
THE PLAYERS IN THE DISMISSAL
Sir John Kerr: Governor General of Australia, acting as the Queen’s representative in Australia.
His job was almost entirely ceremonial, but the position holds unused reserve powers for constitutional crises.
Sir Martin Charteris: Private secretary to Queen Elizabeth II who exchanged more than 200 letters with Sir John, many in the lead-up to and aftermath of the resignation.
Gough Whitlam: The reform-minded Prime Minister of Australia who could not get the budget due to not controlling the Senate, the House of Lords of Australia.
This meant that public service and government programs could not be paid or implemented, leaving him vulnerable.
Malcolm Fraser: Leader of the opposition coalition that blocked the budget to force Mr. Whitlam to hold early elections, he thought he could win.
He was elected by landslide after Sir John fired Mr. Whitlam and called early elections.
The letter has been revealed in a new book entitled ‘The Truth of The Palace Letters: Ambush, Deceit and Dismissal in 1975’ published by the University of Melbourne press.
The book also reveals another 11-page letter telling Sir John Charles that he would be willing to step aside as Governor General if Charles wanted to step into the role.
The crises arose after a stalemate in the national parliament.
The Whitlam government controlled the House, but the balance of power was in the hands of the opposition in the Senate.
Bills to secure funds for the government were routinely blocked by the Senate, effectively leaving the government powerless to access treasury funds.
Using his powers as governor general, Kerr dissolved parliament and appointed opposition leader Malcolm Fraser as interim prime minister.
Sir John explained in a letter dated November 20 that he had not warned Mr. Whitlam in advance because he was concerned that the Prime Minister would try to fire him first.
“As you know from earlier letters, he (Mr. Whitlam) said sometimes, sometimes jokingly, sometimes less so, but on all occasions with what I considered underlying seriousness, that the crisis could end in a race to the palace.” he wrote to Sir Martin, the private secretary of Queens.
Fraser and his allies acted quickly to secure the credit accounts before Whitlam’s Labor Party government could respond and the funds were restored.
In the double-winding election the following month, Fraser’s government won by a massive majority.
Whitlam is the only Australian Prime Minister in history to have been removed from office in this way. He was later appointed ambassador to UNESCO and continued his diplomatic work for decades.
In the last letter sent to Sir John before the dismissal, on November 4, Sir Martin makes it clear that the Queen is staying out of the ruins of her former colony.
Margaret Whitlam (left) meets Queen Elizabeth II (right) at the opening of the Opera House in Sydney on October 20, 1973 with Gough Whitlam (center)