Prince of Wales

From today’s Guardian:

The prince’s secretary said he knew the allegation was untrue for “three principal reasons”. “Firstly, the Prince of Wales has told me it is untrue and I believe him implicitly,” he said. “Secondly, anyone who knows the Prince of Wales at all would appreciate that the allegation is totally ludicrous and, indeed, risible.

“And thirdly, the person who has made the allegation unfortunately has suffered from health problems and has made other, unrelated allegations which have been investigated by the police and found to be unsubstantiated.”

These aren’t especially good reasons (how stupid do you have to be to believe something just because it’s the Prince of Wales who tells it to you?). But they happily put me in mind of one of the best TV programmes, I’ve ever watched, the documentary, “Charles: the Private Man, the Public Role”.In its finest scene, Charles explains why it’s OK for him to travel to the Middle East and hobnob with the merchants of death at the ceremonial opening of arms fairs, given that he’s supposed to be such a non-political figure. On that occasion he too managed to come up with “three reasons”, which I think were roughly as follows (this is quoting from a decade-old memory, so apologies if I get it slightly wrong): (i) we make arms jolly well in Britain, (ii) if we didn’t sell them, somebody else would, and (iii) human nature being what it is, there’ll always be a need to sell powerful weapons to people. So that’s settled, then.

The whole film, in fact, is a marvellous symptom of the crisis in the House of Windsor at the time. Intended as a show to rehabilitate Charles after the Diana Panorama interview, and organised by a sycophantic (if not hagiographic) Jonathan Dimbleby, the programme in fact just fed out yards and yards of rope, with which the Prince hanged himself, repeatedly. The arms-fair discussion was followed by a shot of the royals processing into some banqueting hall with the President of Portugal or somesuch, preparing to get their snouts in the trough, as Charles’s voiceover solemnly described how valuable it was for Britain to have a royal family so selflessly devoted to duty. (Another priceless bit was on what a mistake the government was making when it took his yacht away.)

Incidentally, I see that since I linked to throneout.com below their server has been overwhelmed with visitors. (I’m not sure that my link was the chief reason for this.) They have a useful statement posted up there this morning, which raises important questions about the position of the royal family with respect to the law.

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