The File on Charlie Windsor
A Prince But Not A StarCharlie is very much a product of his strange family and the strange system that sustains it. No doubt that is a section of south eastern upper class British society that recognises him as one of its own or at least as having some semblance of themselves. But his appearance, demeanour, style of speech and way of life are alien to the age and to the majority of British people.
In her biography of the head of state who will be imposed on the British people Sally Beddell Smith, an American monarchists, has given us useful insights into his strangeness.
She reports that Charlie's parents were cold towards their son. They showed no physical affection. Their usual means of communication was by letter. When they were at home he saw them only after breakfast and tea time. Charlie's father often made his son cry. After an absence of six months on monarchy business his parents greeted him with handshakes.
Charlie has unusual eating habits. He has the same breakfast every day: mixed wheat germ and cereal grains, with honey and preserves on silver tray, with cut fruit and tea. He eats no lunch but has an afternoon tea that always includes a slice of Welsh fruit cake. His favourite dinner is a soft-boiled egg with salad.
Even when eating at a friend's home he takes his own chef and food. His personal salt is put next to him at his friends' tables in a silver bowl. Charlie has a taste for martinis. So his police bodyguard is obliged to carry a special case with the ingredients.
The prince among men also travels with a white leather toilet seat.
He has a valet who lays out a shirt on his bed each morning. If Charlie dislikes the chosen shirt he rings a bell to bring the valet running with another one that his master might prefer.
Charlie married his first wife Diana Spencer after receiving a letter from his father instructing him to do so. Father Phil feared for the reputation of Ms. Spencer if their relationship continued with no marriage. Charlie would rather have married Camilla Parker Bowes. But that was not allowable because it was not clear that she was a virgin.
Despite this his family was cold towards Ms Spencer.
She was not so cold. As Charlie knelt beside their bed to pray at night she would hit him over head berating him for his faults. She ridiculed him for the military uniform that he wore despite not being in the military. She derided the man she had married as "the boy wonder" and "the Great White Hope".
These oddities are particularly unfortunate for monarchists. Because now the future of an institution that likes to boast of a 1000 year history, seems to depend on a cheap and ephemeral Hollywood-style glamour, which it sometimes has to outsource.
For long the Windsors shored up their reputations by sponsoring charities while stuffing their own pockets with the people's money. Now monarchists and their lovers in the news media revel in the perceived Hollywood celebrity images of the younger Windsors. In Britain, New Zealand and Australia this has been seen as bringing renewed hope to the feudal institution.
For this reason many wish that the family could skip over Charlie and allow Windsors with more glamour to take the jackpot.
Already he has changed the course of some legislation â€” for example, an idiotic idea that has the British taxpayer funding witchdoctors and their homeopathy â€” and his meddlesome manner is infamous.
Even if he werenâ€™t bonkers, that would be a problem.
Alan Howe, Herald Sun, Australia
Read more about the Windsor show business in "There's no business like show business - but don't forget the clown".