A Carolean Paean
Seventy years later, King Charles’s moment has come. There are no doubts about his character or his motives. The only variables are what he can accomplish and how much time the gods will grant him. Simon De Burton delivers The Rake’s alternative coronation homage.
Before I discovered it was possible to make a living from writing in ways that did not involve churning out stories for the popular press, I worked in the dog-eat-dog world of news agency journalism, where many young reporters cut their teeth. We were typically in our twenties and had been ‘indentured’ with a parochial paper before finding work with an agency as a conduit to a job on the ‘nationals’. Said national newspapers use such agencies to root out stories that — if deemed sufficiently interesting — are invariably passed on to the paper’s own, better paid, correspondents, who tweak them a bit and take all the glory. In other words, agency types are the journalistic equivalent of foot soldiers. They are the ones who do the donkey work, take the greater risks (of which there are more than you might imagine), and, in the grand scheme of things, are deemed to be entirely dispensable.
In fact, the only tenuous association I can claim to have with the King relates to the fact that the ‘impromptu stay’ took place on a Duchy of Cornwall farm tenanted, at the time, by the family of my own son’s godfather. Wishing to discover what life was like for a Dartmoor farmer, Charles had secretly arranged to stay for a week, arriving without fanfare or entourage save for a single, obligatory security guard. “He simply wanted to find out what rural life was really like,” recalls my son’s godfather. “He lived in the house, ate with us, wore old clothes, worked with us from seven a.m. until six p.m., and didn’t bother shaving. He was happy and carefree, especially when he was able to take to the moor on horseback without his bodyguard. He had to. The chap didn’t know how to ride.”
Yes, Charles has already made a real difference to the world as Prince of Wales, and must surely have greater scope to do more in his role as king than once would have been the case. But I fear he will need more years than his life will allow. That’s partly the fault of the people who once belittled his beliefs about the precariousness of the Earth, the perils of climate change, the benefits of organic farming, and the potential efficacy of plant-based medicines (to name but a few). They are all beliefs that are now acknowledged as the foundations on which to rebuild our battered planet. But if he does go too soon, at least our King will be able to say: I told you so.
Read the full story in Issue 87, available to purchase on TheRake.com.