Anatomy of a Swindle

I never thought I would be a sucker for royalty, but there is now a good reason to admire Prince Charles. He hates Richard Rogers.

In August, the British press reported on the dismay of the nation's "architectural profession, flinching at the prospects of another outburst along the lines of 'monstrous carbuncle' (the Prince's dismissal of an extension at the National Gallery), 'glass stump' (his view of a plan for Mansion House Square), and 'Victorian prison' (his description of a new Plessey factory in Plymouth)." Apparently, Prince Charles has intervened in plans for a multimillion dollar project to redevelop the "area" around St. Paul's Cathedral. The "area" in question happens to be London's oldest and most beautiful, and the Prince's concern was clear to all, including those who had watched his wedding at St. Paul's six years earlier. Except, of course, for the nation's architectural profession: "Architects are getting fed up with the Prince's interference," said Michael Manser, a past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), adding: "The trouble is, he has tremendous influence among people generally." One proposal, favored by the judges, called for a ring of office blocks around the cathedral. Another favorite, still undisclosed at this writing, was an entry by Richard Rogers and Partners.


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