‘Chinless, slobbering dauphin’

Via Butterflies and Wheels (of course) Johann Hari has an elegant profile of our next sovereign:

If not for that fortuitous journey through a royal womb, Charles Windsor’s ‘wise’ arguments would be gathering dust in the reject bin at certain newspapers’ letters pages. If his advocates didn’t keep praising him as ‘a public intellectual’ I wouldn’t be rude enough to point it out, but Charles Windsor is a strikingly stupid man. Every time he has been put into a competitive situation where he is judged according to objective criteria, he has been a disaster.

Despite the most expensive education money can buy, he managed only to scrape a B and a C in his A-Levels. Despite this, he was admitted to Cambridge University, where he failed again, barely scraping a 2:2. When he was ushered into the Navy, he was so inept at navigation he kept crashing. Anybody else would have been court-martialled, but instead the Navy gave him one-on-one tuition for years. And still he failed.

But even if Charles Windsor was a genius who represented a political agenda I totally agreed with, I would still oppose his ‘right’ to be an unelected Head of State. In a democracy, power should stem from voting lines, not blood-lines. Yet Charles has shown a willingness to use his unearned position to bully elected representatives for decades now. One former minister, Peter Morrison, has recounted how Charles called him into Kensington Palace and screamed and shouted and banged his fist on the table when Morrison wouldn’t accept his arguments about the national curriculum.

I’m not sure I share Hari’s optimism. What will this Presidential role involve? Will the King have a say in government policy and be able to use royal prerogatives? It’s clear Charles is keen for more than figurehead status: that’s obvious from his desire to become Defender of Faiths rather than Defender of Faith – or, in Christopher Hitchens’s words, represent ‘not just the deluded Christians but the deluded Muslims.’

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