Why is Prince Charles fighting for kippers?


Charles and Camilia with traditional beers

A North London Kipper smokehouse, which has been making kippers for the kedgeree fans of North London for more than 130 years, has been threatened with closure. Last month the owners were told they breached the clean air act, and they faced closure - after a nearby resident complained about the smell. Now an unusual figure has stepped in to offer his support.

So who is this famous kipper-loving figure, and why is he getting involved?

The kippers

The smokehouse has been making kippers in Crouch End, North London, for generations. According to a report in The Telegraph it is owned by fishmongers Walter Purkis and Sons, who were informed in January that they would have to close down because it breached the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Clean Air Act 1993. The family understood that the move came after a single complaint from a resident nearby.

Now it emerges that the story caught the eye of Prince Charles. According to the Daily Mail, he sent along a staff member, who told the family that she had been asked by the Prince to look into the matter, and took details of the fight.

Shop staff told her that the smokehouse won a reprieve, after a petition from customers, and were allowed to run the smokehouse on more restricted hours. However, the matter remains in the hands of the council who are due to discuss it at a meeting shortly. The Mail said that Charles had been asked to be kept informed of developments.

So why is he getting stuck into kippers?

Prince Charles is actually involved in an extraordinary number of campaigns and charities. He is a champion of traditional methods of farming and food production - including everything from organic farming to specialist food producers.

In one speech, for the Radio 4 Food Programme awards a few years back, he referred to the fight against: "the soulless, mechanistic and clinical imperatives with which we seem to be increasingly surrounded." The traditional methods of a local smokehouse are close to his heart.

This is just one corner of his charitable work: he also supports initiatives around the built environment, responsible business, young people and education and global sustainability. His organisations range from The Prince's Trust to The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise and The Prince's Teaching Institute. His charities have raised over £100 million.

Of course, you could argue that it's not like he has anything else to keep him busy - like a proper job. You could also highlight that over £500,000 of this every year comes from a quirk of the law which means he gets the cash from anyone who dies intestate in Wales with no living relatives. There are those who think that this is the very least he ought to be doing.

However, on the flip side, you could look to other Princes of Wales in history. Prince Edward, who held the title in the 1930s, did more than his fair share of partying in Jazz Clubs. In those days the press kept a lid on most things, but rumours of an indulgent life of women and parties did the rounds.

He wasn't moved to campaign for kippers or to offer grants to give young people a better start in life. You could argue that Prince Charles could opt for a similar carefree life, and should be recognised for his charitable endeavours and commitment to kippers.

But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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