I once nearly caused a major incident involving our new King. On that distant day, there was no sign of the petulance Charles, now King, showed when his pen recently spilled out ink (which he quickly handed it to Camilla, who suffered the same fate). Poor man, what pressure he’s under. When your mother dies the world turns upside down and his private mourning is invaded by constant filming. However, it must be said, this is a man capable of anger when an egg isn’t boiled to his exacting precision. That’s what’s strange about today’s enormous show, a theatre the world will never see again - Charles doesn’t want such pomp.
Despite his sincere and long standing involvement in problems affecting the world, he is still a remote figure. Yet he is capable of empathy. My own republican sentiments shivered when I met this lone, much taunted figurehead. Rather than concentrate on me who presented a Prince’s Trust project, he turned to the rough youth with whom I’d been working to clean up their corner of the city and he impressed me by asking them relevant, even personal questions. They, like me, were converted on the spot. Not to Royalty, but to this man with his huge heart and vision.
During this little meeting, Charles poked a photo and laughed, “That’s you!” And the boys had laughed with him. Earlier in the day, I had carefully erected the stand, ensuring it was capable of prodding, but half an hour before his appearance, deeming my spread of securing para-chord was too dangerous his security guys had dismantled them. Thank god I ignored their berating and quickly readjusted them, for the entire edifice would have collapsed in on the prince.
Today, after the funeral, French friends at the top of their ancient aristo-pile rang from Paris to chat about the Queen, saying, “The entire world is thinking of England today!”
Astride our house’s chimney pots, the rooks seem puzzled by the utter silence. Not a car, just the birds. Today it is like the pandemic all over again.
Sometimes you surprise yourself. After ten days of intense mourning up and down the country, I must admit this highly respected and loved woman, was, like Charles, quite a personality. Virtually every country sent somebody to her funeral. Let’s hope Charles’ reign will promote his deep concern for the environment, for it seems us humans need such figures to steer us towards meaningful environmental solutions.
Essential though it is to have one voice expressing our consensus, it has always baffled me that we can’t organise ourselves without leaders, gurus. Across the globe, dominant types possess vast riches and control us. Yet not everywhere. The tribe I grew up alongside were represented by elders who had proven themselves to be for the common good, and of these they chose a single chief whose position wasn’t hereditary.
The thing I take from this monumentally traditional day is that we should have two minutes silence each noon - to recognise our mortality, to feel the magic of life, to sense the importance of nature.