The Prince of Wales has expressed concern about the Roman Catholic Church's position on contraception.Tim Walker. Edited by Richard Eden
Published: 6:30AM BST 10 Jul 2010
While the Queen looks forward to greeting the Pope in September, the Prince of Wales may be conspicuous by his absence during the pontiff's historic state visit.
Lord Patten of Barnes, who is organising the trip, tells Mandrake that Prince Charles has yet to confirm his attendance when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh meet the Pope in Scotland. "That will be his choice," says the Conservative former Cabinet minister. "I'm sure, if he wants to, he will be there."
Mandrake's man at Clarence House confirms that the Prince will be in this country at the time of the four-day visit, but says: "We are not yet in a position to confirm if he will be able to meet the Pope.
"There are always different commitments being looked at. It's not just what's possible for us, but what's possible for them as well."
Although an avowed "defender of faith", the Prince has expressed concern about the position of the Roman Catholic Church on population matters – the Vatican is opposed to contraception.
In 1992, the Prince appeared to include the Vatican among "certain delegations" who were "determined to prevent discussion of population growth". He spoke about birth control to politicians and community project workers in Bangladesh five years later.
Last month, the Prince again called for greater birth control in the developing world and hailed the success of "family planning services" in some countries.
The Prince also said the traditional religious views of the sanctity of life, which are often used to oppose the use of condoms and other contraceptives, must be balanced with the imperative to live within the limits of nature.