‘Obscene’: Charles’ controversial new role
Prince Charles has been slammed after being made a patron 175-year-old alternative medicine group.
The Faculty of Homoeopathy said it was an "enormous honour" to have the Prince of Wales on board. Charles has shown continued support for homoeopathy over the years, despite a UK House of Commons committee report labelling it "scientifically implausible" in 2010.
His new role was described as "obscene", and homoeopathy criticised as "quackery".
Faculty of homoeopathy president Gary Smith said in a statement: "It is an enormous honor for us to receive the Patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
"I look forward to working with members, friends and supporters of the Faculty, continuing our important work, promoting homoeopathy within both public and professional circles and maintaining awareness of this system of medicine."
Homoeopathy is based on the theory of treating "like with like", and practitioners believe ailments can be treated with heavily diluted substances - such as minerals or plants - that would produce symptoms of that ailment.
The Good Thinking Society - a UK not-for-profit group which promotes evidence-based science - criticised the patronage in a statement: "This news is sadly no surprise, given how routinely Prince Charles has used his royal platform to advocate for an anti-science position when it comes to homoeopathy, but it is obscene to think that the UK's next head of state believes this is an appropriate issue to use his considerable public profile to promote.
"If Prince Charles wants to have a genuine positive effect on the health of the nation he intends to one day rule, he should side against those who offer dangerously misleading advice, rather than fighting their corner."
Professor Edzard Ernst, who labelled Charles a "snake oil salesman" in 2011 over his support for the alternative medicine, questioned whether he could change peoples opinions on the contentious treatment.
"In view of Charles's long love affair with homoeopathy, this news is unsurprising. The question is whether this will change anything about the sharp decline homoeopathy has taken in this and several other countries, and whether it will alter the verdicts of dozens of independent organisations which recently have certified it to be a pure placebo therapy," Prof Ernst said.
And Graham Smith, chair of anti-monarchy lobby group Republic, hit out at the Prince on Twitter.
"Whatever you think of homoeopathy this is completely inappropriate given the widespread medical opinion that it's quackery," Mr Smith wrote.
A spokesperson for Clarence House - the royal residence where Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall live - defended the patronage.
"[Charles] believes that safe and effective, complementary medicine can play an important role in healthcare systems, as long as approaches are integrated with conventional treatments, a position he has reached after years of talking to experts in many different areas of medicine," the spokesperson said, according to CNN.