A Man Prepared to Put His Money Where His Mouth Is; CHARLES AT 60 Prince Charles Famously Declared of Himself That He Suffers from Being Much Misunderstood. as the Man Who Would Be King Celebrates His 60th Birthday Today, Royal Biographer Brian Hoey Gives His Insider's Assessment of the Prince of Wales
Byline: Brian Hoey
PRINCE Charles has often claimed he is the most misunderstood man in Britain.
In his own eyes he is compassionate, far-sighted and generous, in spite of the fact that he is occasionally portrayed as a spoilt boy, who is mean with his money, of which he has so much it takes teams of accountants to keep track of it all.
He is the 21st Prince of Wales and there is little doubt that, because of the longevity of his mother, and the consequent years of training he has been forced to endure, he will be the best prepared - and certainly the best educated - monarch Britain has ever known when his time finally comes.
No one would deny that he has no wish to hasten his eventual inheritance - as to do so would mean the Queen would have to be dead - but it would be perfectly understandable for him to feel somewhat frustrated at having to wait so long for the job for which he is the only applicant and which is the only post he is qualified to hold.
There is no Constitutional or formal role that accompanies the title Prince of Wales, yet Charles has created a full-time career for himself, proving remarkably adept in embracing modern, active and innovative causes with a skill and enthusiasm that has won praise from many, but which has also raised eyebrows in some quarters, particularly when, as in his early days, he advocated theories on such diverse subjects as climate control, the environment and integrated healthcare, that were laughed at when he first spoke, but which have since become accepted practice.
This week, in fact, the Queen delivered an endorsement of her son's fitness to succeed her, speaking as she visited the headquarters of the Prince's Trust in London, the charity Prince Charles set up.
His working life has involved a personal exploration of what constitutes a civilised society and many of his organisations have been set up with the aim of helping people gain some of these advantages in their own lives.
The range of subjects he is interested in is wide and impressive: agriculture, education, architecture, organic crops (which he took up by converting his home farm at Highgrove to this method because of his fears about the use of artificial pesticides and chemicals), spiritual philosophy and business in the community are just a few among the dozens he embraces with a vigour that can be difficult to understand when the bulk of his time is taken up with public duties both in Britain and abroad.
In the past - and he continues to do so - he has upset the Establishment and successive governments, with his controversial views on a variety of subjects when they would much prefer he kept his opinions to himself and behaved as they expect from members of the Royal Family: that is, to say nothing, do nothing and be satisfied with the traditional family business of cutting ribbons and opening factories.
Prince Charles is a passionate man who is not in the least embarrassed to reveal his innermost thoughts and beliefs and he is not prepared to remain silent simply to have a quiet life.
Unlike the Queen he does not have to wear a gag; he can voice opinions that will be impossible to say when he becomes King.
And because of his exalted position, he can say what he likes, within reason, and few will disagree. In fact, a senior member of his household told me that his boss could be the most arrogant and petty person on earth, but that one could not really blame him because nobody had ever said "No" to his face.
He added that Charles can also be the most kind and considerate of men on occasion - and that he cries very easily.
If he hears of someone with a tale that touches his heart he goes out of his way to comfort them, and insists on anonymity, never looking for the photo opportunity and cheap publicity.
And he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: A Man Prepared to Put His Money Where His Mouth Is; CHARLES AT 60 Prince Charles Famously Declared of Himself That He Suffers from Being Much Misunderstood. as the Man Who Would Be King Celebrates His 60th Birthday Today, Royal Biographer Brian Hoey Gives His Insider's Assessment of the Prince of Wales. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales). Publication date: November 14, 2008. Page number: 24. © 2009 MGN Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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