By John Charles Dyer, UK Correspondent
We only get rare glimpses into a man called Charles amid all the controlled publicity for the Prince. I must confess, I like what I see in sometimes spontaneous interchanges.
Glipses of a man
5 Dec 2012 two Australian DJ’s managed to invade the privacy of Charles elder son William and daughter-in-law Kate. Kate had been hospitalized with acute morning sickness. The two DJs managed to pull off a rather bad imitation of the Queen and the Prince. They fooled staff into revealing private information.
The following day the Press caught up with Charles. It could have been awkward badgering, an exacerbation of the original invasion of private feelings. But Charles quipped, a whimsical smile on his face, “how do you know I’m not a radio station?”
For someone known for my often wicked (but sometimes corny) sense of humour, it was instant bonding. But tragic news dimmed the glow. One of the deceived staff died. The death will likey be treated officially as "unexplained" pending a Coroner's verdict, although the media report it as apparant suicide.
The very next day the Sun caught another example of Charles "being real."
At an event honouring soldiers, Charles confessed to fears for the safety of his gung ho younger son, Harry. Prince Harry seems at times a cut from a cloth of a much earlier age, as much rugby player as Prince, but every inch a soldier. His would not be my choice, but it is who Harry is. Shakespeare would have approved of Our Harry.
But his father worries.
As a father whose children are never far from my thoughts, I once again felt instant connection. "Stiff upper lip" it might not have been. But all real man as far as I am concerned.
Romanticizing again, are we Dyer?
Schmaltzy sentimental at Christmas. B*£^%dy Colonial, Charles is the coddled progeny of privilege.
No doubt Charles is a Prince. No doubt the monarchy has a checkered history. No doubt it is the remnant of a most undemocratic tradition, and one of unbridled excess and cruelty.
But ironically, the monarchy -- along with the Church the monarch heads -- is the establishment institution in Britain that seems to consistently strive to foster democracy-respecting stability in a destabilizing, troubled nation. A troubled nation whose political leadership unabashedly favours the unaccountable Oligarchy of a "self-regulated" Press, business, and development over the democratically-enacted restraints of the Rule of Law. Ironic, isn't it.
No doubt Charles is a complicated person.
Charles is a Prince, an heir to unearned privilege, a creature of glitter, gilding. pomp, champagne, private schools, Cambridge, yaghts and Polo. He has been pampered by most people’s standards. His eccentricities and whims are tolerated in a way mine would never be.
But he is also just another concerned father. It warms -- like a candle through gaps in harsh metallic gilding.
He has an unpretentious sense of humour, by which he can and does turn awkward moments into moments of human connection that come across even in the musty flatness of tabloid newsprint.
The gifts of a difficult journey.
Transcendence of one’s conditioning, sympathy and empathy are the gifts the Universe offers to a sensitive soul who undertakes a difficult personal life's journey. This too I recognize in Charles the man. Yes, he has wealth, bubble wrap and servants. But we all know how difficult his personal journey has been.
I connect with this aspect of Charles the man in a way I could never connect with Charles the Prince. Perhaps I project too much onto a man who is less than a fortnight my elder. But I think I see a sensitive soul disciplined by the rigours of a difficult personal journey inside the regal trappings of a Prince.
For me, success in life isn’t about where a man begins. It isn’t about where he ends. It isn’t his triumphs and failings along the way. It is his willingness to make the journey, to learn from it -- and the mistakes he makes along the way -- to gain thereby a modicum of empathy and sympathy that stretch him beyond the parameters of his conditioning. Sympathy is that certain still voice in empathy's divine gale. Acting in accordance with its message is the G*d particle, which one man can be, even if a King.
I think I see that in those rare spontaneous glimpses.
I hope I am right.
One day Charles the man inside Charles the Prince will become Charles the King.
His country needs a “wounded healer.” There is much in Britain that needs healing. There is much that aches for that quiet strength that can come from having endured without losing one’s soul.
Charles' mother has been -- in her own way -- a G*dsend of stability in troubled times for her people. Perhaps Charles can also be -- in his own way -- such a G*dsend for an era that sorely could use a journey-disciplined soul willing to reach out to connect with a weary people.
There is much in Britain that could do with that kind of humanity -- and humility.
There is much that could do without one more triumphant, laughing hyaena. There are enough of them around.
Somehow I don’t see Charles laughing at a dedicated if perhaps flawed (as we all are) public servant, stammering in the face of dodgy statistics, accounting gimmicks and loud taunts. I don’t see Charles slurring the working poor of his country as “work shy,” lying in with blinds drawn while others work or demean the disabled as "scroungers." I don't think he would take pride in reducing men, women and children to abject poverty, homelessness and despair or destroying the charities on which they rely. I don't think he would call that "making them better people."
Britain needs a unifying, healing head of state, one who loves the British as much as much as Great Britain. May Charles be that man when he one day becomes Britain's King.
Previous WV post on the British Royal family:
John C. Dyer, The Nation's Day - Not Just the Crown's: Letter from the UK, April 30, 2011.