Prince Charles complained that English is poorly taught in British schools and that his own staff can neither speak nor write properly.

"All the letters sent from my office I have to correct myself - and that is because English is taught so bloody badly," he told a London meeting."If we want people who write good English and write plays for the future, there is no way they can do it with the present system. It is a fundamental problem - we must educate for character," the 40-year-old prince said.

The prince spoke out at the Foundation for Education Business Partnerships, a new organization formed to develop closer links between schools and industry.

At the prince's office in St. James's Palace, an aide said they try not to make mistakes, "but we are human."

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary-elect of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, told a reporter, "The royal prerogative seems to mean ignoring all the evidence. More children now pass more exams than ever before."

But Education Secretary Kenneth Baker, who has just introduced school curriculum changes to improve reading, writing and speaking, said: "Prince Charles echoes the concerns of many parents."