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.

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  • pippakin

    “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).”

    Is heredity an iron principle? If it is its a relatively new one as is the ‘direct line’ argument.

    Charles is a spoiled, unpleasant brat. He never grew up and has none of the charm of Peter Pan. For years he has made the mistake of believing his courtiers, known in the real world as hangers on.

  • Rory Carr

    Leave Charles alone! Since the whole principle of an inherited monarchy is completely barmy it is quite fitting that a barmy prince should succeed to be a barmy king.

    I will say nothing of barmy journalists, Private Eye already has the franchise on listing Hastings’ peculiarities.

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    Ah give everyone a go at wearing the crown. However it looks like Liz will live well into her 90’s, so Charlie will be a very old man. Amusing to see the students hurl abuse at him and Camilla last week.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I’m possibly becoming too cynical, but my first thought when something like this comes out of the blue was, has Hastings published a new book he want to sell?

  • pippakin


    Perhaps he has a book in the offing I don’t know, but Charles has been making noises about Nell becoming queen and a lot of people would flatly disagree with that. Lies may come easily to Charles and Nell but the public have long memories. Hastings may just be putting words around what everyone else thinks.

  • lover not a fighter

    Does anyone really care ? ? ?

    I suppose it would be nice to have some tasty male/female totty as king/queen.

    But so long as you have some good totty as princes/princess’s wheres the crisis ?

  • pippakin

    No one on this side of the water actually cares but there is in some of us a certain amount of enjoyment.

    Question: Is this the first time a British King will have made his mistress queen?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well Hereditary is not an iron principle …far from it. It meant little in 1688 and less in 1936 so we can take that iron principle out of the discussion.
    Hereditary is of course put Charles, the one who went out with Koo Stark and the one who ran away from the Marines ahead of the sister Anne who rode a horse.
    And of course an iron principle is that the new monarch be Hea of the Church of England even if his personal life is at total odds with the principles of Christianity……I should have looked up Lady Jane Wellesley and Kanga on Wikipedia………a curious doigt de seigneur of the 20th century. Iron principles? I cant see it myself.
    Of course when Willie marries Kate Middleclass the British can be guaranteed a male heir. 21st century medicine has advanced beyond the 17th century bed warming pan (allegedly).
    Max Hastings is right. What mavericks think today, mainstream thinks tomorrow. Charles might not be certifiable but he is perceived as being a nutter. His entire demeanour suggests 1950 rather than 2010 and he is already at 62ish a Dauphin who has been a Dauphin too long. He has used up all the good will to which he was ever entitled. (of course another iron principle is that he is entitled to an endless supply of good will…….but I cant see Mock The Week rallying to him).
    So the biggest iron principle is …… anything necessary to keep the mystique going……including if necessary lock Charles up in an iron mask and replace him with Alastair Magowan.

  • JAH

    “Question: Is this the first time a British King will have made his mistress queen?”

    Ever heard of some guy called Henry V111. He had 5 mistresses made Queen! So there is previous on this.

  • Drumlins Rock

    A possible compromise is a short reign then an abdication/regency, but not sure if Charles is the type to go for that, and to be honest Wills might want a few quieter years yet. HM is still going strong, but at her age a year can make a big difference in health. Personally I don’t think charlie is that bad an option, he works hard and is passionate, and is unlikely to have that much more influence as King to follow through his more eccentric ideas.
    FJH, wonder how many get the bedpan reference? lol

  • JAH

    If Charlie’s goons had have shot someone last week to make sure he and his squeeze arrived at the Royal Variety show on time, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. He’d have been hounded out of the country. Diana’s funeral showed how shallow is their support.

    There is a toleration of the Royals amongst the English, far less elsewhere. There have been no street parties however since ’77 and closing the country down is the only they can secure an audience for the wedding. They are an irrelevancy and interest in their tawdry lives has long since been overshadowed by the personalty tittle tattle.

    The utter lack of ‘respect’ was emphasised by the way the public enthusiastically decorated the Queen’s Facebook page. At which point does the mockery tip the Firm into ignored well earned obscurity?

  • pippakin


    Sorry I should have explained. I meant since the introduction of the constitutional monarchy. The Plantagenets were absolute rulers.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Drumlins Rock…
    Bedpan reference……I know I know. History is wasted on a lot of these people LOL.
    I think you judge this much better than Brian Walker. There is no iron principle except the very understandable and pragmatic committment by monarchists to the continuation of the Monarchy. Whatever it takes.
    So the compromise with hereditary “principle” which you identify is much more likely than Charles having a long reign until his death and being succeeded by William in his mid 50s.

  • Brian Walker

    fitz.. You’re quibbling. We are talking of modern times. I agree Harold’s succession to Edward the Confessor in 1066 was not hereditary. In 1936 it worked perfectly. In 1689, not, although the family thread was maintained with Mary 2 as joint monarch. It resumed with the Act of Settlement 300 years ago. Not a bad record.

  • pippakin

    Sorry I just noticed I put Plantagenet when I meant Tudor. I’m always making mistakes with the Henry’s!

  • pippakin


    “And of course an iron principle is that the new monarch be Hea of the Church of England even if his personal life is at total odds with the principles of Christianity……I should have looked up Lady Jane Wellesley and Kanga on Wikipedia………a curious doigt de seigneur of the 20th century. Iron principles? I cant see it myself. Of course when Willie marries Kate Middleclass the British can be guaranteed a male heir. 21st century medicine has advanced beyond the 17th century bed warming pan (allegedly).”

    Gossip! and like all good gossip a touch of tantalising truth here and there. Kanga was a tragedy, as was Diana. The rest seem to have done alright and one must be congratulated, definitely better than her great grandmother.

    The last time England was invaded was not 1066 was it, and the bed pan? I’m not the most reliable and could easily be wrong, again but could it be connected to a James?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr Walker……youre quibbling. If we were talking about “modern times”, we would not be talking about a monarchy.

  • Munsterview

    I knew the late Kathleen Raine, poet quite well in latter years, who also had more than a few meetings with Charles when they discusses spiritual /philosophical matters at some length. According to Kathleen he was far from the nutter he was portrayed as and she was quite impresses by both his sincerity and his knowledge. He was not at all what she had expected.

    I have another author and biographer Scottish Friend who while coming from an extended family of landed estates, is never the less left and radical. This man have quite a few tv documentaries to his name and is a fairly serious person. Charlie dines with him a couple of times a year and he also is of the opinion that there is more than a bit of substance to Charlie.

    Of course there is the Irish angle also : would a dissident monarch adopt a more sympathetic stance with dissidents?

  • pippakin


    I believe Charles toyed with the idea of joining the Labour party when he was younger. It had to be gently pointed out to him that he could not…

    The royals are briefed on subjects by their hangers on, so when they meet someone it should be possible for them to hold a reasonable if not in depth conversation.

    Of course intelligence is the last thing government want in monarchy. In some ways I suppose he would do quite well.

  • Alias

    The UK would be better served by ending the monarchy with the present Queen and ending it on a high note, rather see it drift further into dismal realm of celebrity and irrelevance as the UK moves toward republicanism with its new Supreme Court making a written constitution inevitable and an elected upper house making an unelected monarch seem an anachronism and noticeably obscene.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Charles dissident monarch? In reality theres no such thing. Just ask James II or Edward the whatever in 1936. We are after all talking about a traditionalist who is Colonel in Chief of the Parachute Regiment anda great nephew or whatever of Louis Mountbatten. He would be much more hostile to Ireland and the Irish……..except of course in the rather narrow British/Irish thing that the British find acceptable.

  • Munsterview

    fitzJ : “…Charles dissident monarch?…”

    Irony dear man, just being Ironic !

    His reputed response to Mountbatten unfortunate end was simply……. ” Bastards! ”

    I do not think that event will be forgotten of forgiven by Charlie considering that he was his Uncle and favorite relative, with other possible intimate connections between them, if some reports about Mountbatten are to be believed.

    I was just interested in the picture I got of the real person as against the press image. If it is correct, it is refreshing to know that even a top member of the British Establishment with the best PR money can buy, cannot have a better public profile or more serious image.

    I have also sat in in a few discussions over there with friends of a cultural society I am part of, the core of which came from Old Guard Fabians. In these circles there is a ready acceptance that The Royal family, while a wealthy part of the British Establishment, are but cypers and fugue heads as far as real power go.

    The real power brokers in Britain deposed James to prevent a real Monarchial Power re-establishing. The crown was offered to William & Mary in very specific terms with not alone a close circumscribing of existing royal power, but also of any possibility of any future royal stepping outside those dictated parameters.

    That is still the situation and while I have no illusions about Charlie or his class interest, never the less it appears that he do or rather did represent a threat to the British Power Structure status quo. In the discussions I referred to there is a general acceptance that because Charlie began to think for himself and started to step outside the box, he had a number done on him in the press to portray him as at best a head in the clouds romantic or at worst the Royal Idiot that could not be taken seriously.

    The Spensers are part of the real power structure, a few of them still around Mid Munster, a hard lot now and were right back to our first encounter with them. The new young were specifically bred to reconcile differences between The Royals and the Real Rulers. Unlike daddy and uncle, not surprising to any with an interest things that the Spenser nephews should take to military matters as ducks to water.

    Ask anyone down in West Kerry about Spenser and the slaughter of Dun An hOnoru Bhriste…… The Fort Of The Broken Honor ! There Spenser was among the party that gave their word and guaranteed safe conduct to over five hundred Continental Catholic troops, only to slaughter the lot when disarmed and surrendered.

    Expect to see a lot more of Wills for King etc, he is of the real ruler stock and the royal stock, he will be well aware of the boundaries and will play the game, unlike his father Charles. As one woman but it to me, “… Charles is not given his privileges to think, we fought a horrible century of Civil Wars to sort all that out, his part is to come on stage, say his lines and get off, not attempt to write the bloody play..”

    Indeed ! An excellent summary of the situation one would have thought.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Hardly a new idea. The concept of a monarch interfering in politics was referenced in the second instalment of the “House of Cards” trilogy, “To Play the King”.

  • pippakin

    Charles is not a political animal. His idea of help the workers is let them eat cake. He would have no idea of how or what to do to improve the rights of the people and nor would he want those rights improved beyond what was useful to him.

    As for the murder of Mountbatten of course he called the IRA bastards! If they had murdered a relative of mine ‘bastard’ would be the mildest of the epithets I would have used to describe them, and forgiveness? I’m Irish my wraith would haunt them and theirs for at least eight hundred years.

  • Munsterview


    Once abstracted from the context of the Low Intensity War/Conflict situation, of course Mountbatten killing was a human tragedy for his immediate family, relatives and friends. I would no more deny or denigrate their feelings on the matter than I would those of the relatives victims of those killed by the Paras in Bloody Sunday and elsewhere, of which Paras, Charles Is Honorary Commander in Chief.

  • pippakin


    Yep he is. He who likely never fired a gun unless it was at some poor defenceless creature. He is a fitting choice.

    The thing is most of the people the IRA killed were as helpless and defenceless as those who were killed on Bloody Sunday.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Abdication in To Play the King.