A new biography of our old friend Prince Charles was published last week, titled Charles: The Heart of a King. The work of Time journalist Catherine Mayer, the book is not an official biography (indeed, given that it is not chronological it is not really a conventional biography at all – and all the better for it) although Mayer had a great deal of access to Charles and those around him for more than a year.
We have to admit from the start that the book is far better than we expected. It’s by and large objective, and Mayer is unafraid to criticise the prince when he deserves it while remaining, overall, perhaps a bit too pro-Charles for our tastes. Uniquely for a biography of the prince (we think) Mayer has devoted space to Charles’s dabblings in Romania, a subject which any regular reader will know is one that we like to bang on about a great deal. Indeed, that’s where our interest in this book really begins, for we feature in the chapter: Mayer interviewed us last year.
Yes, we are quoted in full rant-mode in a biography of Prince Charles. The tower no doubt awaits.
Or does it?
For despite telling Mayer much the same as we have written on these pages over the past few years, she has – despite using a quote from one of our choicest anti-Charles rants – done us the honour of portraying us as being ‘better disposed towards the prince than his blog suggests.’
She also, however, broadly agrees with us. She states at one point:
“One of Turp’s accusations resonates: that Charles romanticises peasant life in Romania. In finding ways to support people living these lives, Charles is irrefutably helping to keep them where they are.”
Mayer then quotes our good selves:
“For me the biggest problem is that the Romania the Prince loves, these serf villages, they confirm his world view…this idea that there is a natural order of things, that everyone should know their place.”
There’s a little more from Bucharest Life in the book, much of which will come as no surprise to our regular reader: our views on Charles and his role in Romania are as steadfastly uncomplimentary as ever.
In brief, Charles is one of those people who appears to genuinely believe that he was – as the title of the book suggests – born to be king. For him, it’s a god-given right that no man or woman can take from him. For the same reason he believes that the Romanian peasant was born to work the land: that’s the role they were assigned, and no other life is possible. To Charles, the idea that a peasant could become a king, or king a peasant, is anathema to his belief system. In Charles’s world, social mobility does not and must not exist, else the whole natural order of things come crashing down.
Well, we can’t agree. As heirs to the spirit of the Diggers, the Ranters, the CNT and every other radical group which ever set about turning the world upside down, we see no role for Charles except the one he carves out for himself. We would – in all sincerity – be delighted to see him move permanently to Romania, renouncing the crown and committing the rest of his life to the good, honest life of the toiling peasant. We would have nothing but admiration for him.
We can’t, alas, see it happening.
Instead, Brian will continue to visit Romania, will continue to claim that the simple life of the Romanian peasant is wonderful, and will continue to be hailed as Romania’s greatest friend. He isn’t. He is a reactionary who espouses a way of life he himself eschews.