In one of them, he expressed criticsim of the army's Lynx helicopters, saying they were subject to "poor performance" in high temperatures and questioned their suitability for deployment in Iraq.
In another, he urges a badger cull to stem bovine TB.
Other than that, however, the letters have turned out to be distinctly less controversial and exciting than anyone could have imagined.
For starters, they are typed, not scrawled in his ‘black spider’ hand.
In the 27 letters to and from government departments Charles is revealed as well-briefed, courteous (if, at times, a little patronizing) and, most importantly, not mad at all.
For those who feel Prince Charles shouldn’t be allowed to express opinions to government ministers, the letters will no doubt inflame their hostility, but for many pro-monarchy citizens, Charles’s letters will actually confirm his reputation as a straight–talker.
For example, in one series of correspondence he simply points out to the Minister of Education that children’s behavior improves when they eat a healthy diet.
One very long letter concerns subsidies given to beef and sheep farmers, and asks if more could perhaps not be done to encourage the Ministry of Defence to buy British beef.
Other letters concern the fate of seabirds and rebuilding historic buildings in Northern Ireland.
Perhaps his most controversial remark is to tell ministers that he has been told by squaddies that the Lynx helicopter is not up to scratch in hot climates, such as Iraq.
Many of his defenders will feel that if he had such information there was a responsibility on him to pass it on to the people who run the country.
He writes, “The aim of the Ministry of Defence and the Air Army Corps to deploy this equipment globally is, however, being frustrated by the poor performance of the existing Lynx aircraft in high temperatures. Despite this, the procurement of a new aircraft to replace the Lynx is subject to further delays and uncertainty due to significant pressure on the defence budget. I fear this is just one more example of where our Armed Forces are being asked to do an extremely challenging job (particularly in Iraq) without the necessary resources.”
Re badgers, Charles writes: “I do urge you to look again at introducing a proper cull of badgers where it is necessary. I, for one. cannot understand how the “badger lobby” seem not to mind at all about the slaughter of thousands of expensive cattle, and yet object to a managed cull of an overpopulation of badgers - to me, this is intellectually dishonest.”
In a statement, a Clarence House spokesman said: “The Prince of Wales cares deeply about this country, and tries to use his unique position to help others. He has devoted most of his working life to helping individuals and organizations, to make a difference for the better of this country and the world.”
On balance, the big question here is why on earth the establishment fought so hard to prevent publication of these letters. In doing so, it gave succor for ten years to those who argued the Prince and the government were organizing some massive, high-level cover-up.
When will these people learn that it’s the (attempted) cover-ups that do the damage?