Not Charles for King, says Hastings

Entertainment for a snowed-in day. Max Hastings,  veteran journalist and military historian and mildly maverick Establishment member, urges that the monarchy should pass over Charles and land on Wills, if the heir doesn’t die before the Queen. This won’t happen of course as heredity is an iron principle unless the occupant is actually certifiable and without it the monarchy crumbles (don’t all chorus). Hastings is the sort of opinion former, a man with toff tastes and military knowledge whom the Establishment  might expect to give independent support  to British traditions. His stark criticisms therefore, will hit hard.

  Opinion is divided as to whether Charles would shut up on the throne. For what it’s worth I’d guess he’d be painfully conscientious. The wider question is- although irritating, what’s the real harm? Science is robust enough to brush off his sallies. Hastings’ concern is prompted by a new book Harmony which right enough, seems as dotty as ever.

From the Hastings tablet..

The Prince’s new book Harmony is indeed a startling piece of work. He begins it by writing: ‘This is a call to revolution. “Revolution” is a strong word, and I use it deliberately

Though the Prince says he does not dismiss all science as bosh, his book is a call to arms against ‘the great juggernaut of industrialisation’ which he deplores.

An acquaintance of the Prince argued to me recently that we should not worry about his behaviour because anybody who spends time with him quickly sees that he is potty, and thus harmless.

I would agree — if his ­eccentricities were confined to collecting matchboxes or ­dressing up as Napoleon….  But anyone who reads the Prince of Wales’ new book will have little doubt that the chief peril to our royal institution in the decades ahead lies within his well-meaning, muddled, woolly head.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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