It's no doubt one of the great joys of being a royal is that you can have a rant about any subject and your loyal subjects and their less loyal press barons are duty bound to at least give you a hearing.
Prince Charles's outburst on the subject of the architecture of London, namely, "A monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend", was made 25 years ago in relation to his dismay at the proposed design of an extension to the National Gallery.
Although he's not quite reached the giddy heights of his father, Prince Phil, who has squawked out some classics of politically incorrect Royal pronouncements;
"You managed not to get eaten, then?" (To a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea)
"British women can't cook."
"If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it"
Prince Charles is somewhat more PC, but is nevertheless still in the thick of the argument relating to modern design in the midst of his beloved London, particularly with reference to "The Shard".
This 308m tall structure will dominate the London Skyline in 2012, in the form of a "Glass Carrot", looking across the Thames to the "Gherkin".
Or in the words of HRH the not so PC, PC,
"At the moment it looks as though London seems to be turning into an absurdist picnic table - we already have a giant gherkin, now it looks as if we are going to have an enormous salt cellar."
No doubt we all have our views on the "modern vs. traditional" building argument, but what is often overlooked are the strides being made in relation to construction materials and systems.
The only reason we are now having these design debates is that the materials of construction allow such flights of fancy - oh and perhaps the invention of the lift and elevator.
Yet there are more items being added to the materials menu for the designer to feed from, for both city and rural dwellings
- Bricks produced from Cow Dung - a recent $25k prize winner at the Global Social Venture Competition at the University of California
- Intelligent window technologies that keep heat in when cold outside and let it out when hot inside
- The Geopolymer that is a greenhouse gas cutting cement replacement - an inorganic polymer concrete that uses fly ash as a substitute for Portland cement but with reduced emissions during the manufacturing process.
- The Nanohouse demonstrator project which highlighted self cleaning materials and efficient insulation techniques.
Despite the bright future for the architect and civil engineer courtesy of materials science, of course the final word must go to his highness, who no doubt made his Dad very proud with this fine example of a geo-politically sensitive approach;
"You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings it did not replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that."
Off with their architectural heads I say!