Edzard Ernst

Tuesday, April 16 2013 at 7:30PM

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60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Edzard Ernst

What's the talk about?

I started my research at Exeter in 1993, but even before that, Prince Charles had been involved. He had hosted a series of colloquia on alternative medicine at the RSM in London, one of which had been attended by Sir Maurice Laing. At the time, Laing commented that this field would not advance unless there was a university chair specifically dedicated to it. Being a man of his word, Laing later provided the funds to create the world's first chair in complementary medicine.

Once I had been appointed, Charles took an interest in my work. Sadly, it seemed to wain when I had declared my determination to apply the rules of science to this area. My science agenda seemed to be at odds with Charles' enthusiasm for promoting alternative medicine. The ensuing clashes got increasingly acute and became headline news when Charles' private secretary wrote to my Vice-Chancellor and insisted on an investigation into an alleged breach of confidence on my part. This move resulted in 13 months of investigation by my own institution which eventually cleared me of this accusation. Despite this verdict, all support for my research stopped, my team of ~20 researchers disintegrated, and I had to take early retirement. Both the Vice-Chancellor and the Dean of my medical school have since been knighted.