LONDON -- Prince Charles is at the center of a new controversy for complaining that today's architects and property developers have been more destructive than Adolf Hitler's Luftwaffe to the London skyline.
The Prince of Wales launched a fierce attack Tuesday night against modern architecture, criticizing the wholesale 'rape' of Britain's cities, in one of the most outspoken speeches ever made by a member of the royal family.
Addressing the annual dinner of the Corporation of London's Planning and Communications Committee, Charles said: 'You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe. When it knocked down our buildings, it didn't replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that.'
During the 1960s and 1970s, the prince said, planners, architects and developers destroyed the London skyline and 'desecrated' the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral by building drab office blocks around it.
'Not only did they wreck the London skyline in general,' he said, 'they also did their best to lose the great dome in a jostling scrum of office buildings so mediocre that the only way you ever remember them is by the frustration they induce -- like a basketball team standing shoulder-to-shoulder between you and the Mona Lisa.'
The future king of England -- a center of controversy in the past for saying he talks to plants and for rumors of marital problems with Princess Diana -- called on city planners to rebuild London 'without towers' by the year 2000.
Owen Luder, former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, told BBC-TV he was less than amused by the comparison of planners and architects to the German bombers in World War II.
'I think it was most unfortunate and embarrassing,' Luder said of the prince's comments. 'The Luftwaffe came with death and destruction. I lived through the Blitz, no comparison at all. I really resent that.'