I appreciate that, of all people, Prince Charles (posh, opinionated, owner of some particularly striking real-estate, oh – and heir to the throne) may not seem an obvious focus for my sympathies; and by no means do I wake at night tossing and turning etc. so very deeply concerned for his welfare.
No, indeed, I don’t feel that sorry for him; and yet I do pity the man a little. Or, rather, I pity the man he has become in the eyes of our increasingly cynical society. A desperate sort of man – a relic even.
He is neither an adorable (yet sadly somewhat ornamental) patriotic figure – like his mother, yet nor can he be considered a beacon for our ever-changing generation as can his son – to an extent. Instead, Charles dances awkwardly in the middle, neither loved nor despised – and some would have him forgotten.
For, you see, the indelicate suggestion has now been made, among some circles, that Charles relinquish his obligation as King (when such a time comes) and instead hand the crown to his son and heir.
I have no issue with this proposal in principle: the fact is that William offers more to relate to than does his father. But, Reader, search your heart for a drop of compassion – if not for the Prince then for the man behind the royal title; from the very moment he was born, baby Charles’ destiny was written: heir to the throne in a period most dangerous to the monarchy – and not because of war, not because of revolution.
Something far more deadly to their establishment had swept Britain like the plague: apathy. And for this particular strain of the disease it appears there is no cure. And on the brink if this stands the Prince, just as qualified at birth as any other.
He didn’t ask to be born into this duty, and could hardly exchange his path with another’s.
And, of course, I am not so ignorant as to suggest to you that to be born a Prince presents a struggle greater than to be born homeless, or in other unfortunate circumstances. But the life lived by Charles has not been free and cannot have been easy.
It is clear that there is little love lost between mother and son, and the tragedy of Diana – both in life and in death – is not one so easily dismissed, and no doubt haunts the man.
And after this life, which denied to him the simpler pleasures offered to you and I, after such captivity, he is left unwanted and is dismissed by the cold indifference of society.
I myself am not in favour of the monarchy, as I believe that the principle upon which their establishment is based is essentially incompatible with today’s society; but this is irrelevant to the question of Charles himself. For I find that there is something unjustifiably cruel in dressing up a child to be King only to tell him, when his chance to play is over, that he needn’t have bothered.