Prince Charles fears becoming king will condemn him to ‘imprisonment’ – denying him the freedom
to pursue his favoured causes.
Despite being seen as itching to ascend the throne, he is already feeling the weight of duty, according to an extraordinary profile published today.
Aides say the prince is desperate to get as much of his charitable and environmental work done before ‘the prison shades’ close.
Charles, 64, is for the first time deputising for the 87-year-old Queen at a Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka next month but Miss Mayer says he ‘accepts these additional duties joylessly’.
She writes: ‘He prefers not to focus on his accession, which, after all, means losing his mother. And far from itching to assume the crown, he is already feeling its weight and worrying about its impact on the job he has long been doing.’
Charles tells the US magazine he intends to make the most of his inherited position: ‘I’ve had this extraordinary feeling, for years and years, ever since I can remember really, of wanting to heal and make things better.
‘I feel more than anything else it’s my duty to worry about everybody and their lives in this country, to try and find a way of improving things if I possibly can.’
The magazine highlights suggestions that the monarchy could skip a generation in favour of William.
'I’ve had this extraordinary feeling, for years and years, ever since I can remember really, of wanting to heal and make things better.
'It’s my duty to worry about everybody and their lives in this country, to try to find a way of improving things if I possibly can.'
- Prince Charles in TIME interview
But Charles says: ‘If you chuck away too many things you end up discovering there was value in them.’
The article also reveals:
- How Charles had a sword sent to Scotland from London so he could give Prince William lessons in granting knighthoods without inflicting injury;
- Actress and royal friend Emma Thompson describes dancing with Charles as ‘better than sex’;
- Kate and William will be pushing Prince George around in a Silver Cross pram.
Speaking to the Mail yesterday, Miss Mayer said: ‘I don’t think the prince sees becoming king as prison. It is a loss of freedom and a loss of time.
‘It is not that the Crown is a shackle but what it does is eat up his time.
‘He is often described as being impatient to be king but what he’s really impatient to do is to get as much as he possibly can done before he is king.’
She said it is clear that Charles will increasingly take on more of his mother’s work but his passion lies elsewhere and he is ‘incredibly eager to get as much done as he possibly can’.
Miss Mayer added: ‘The thing he is really passionate about is the life he’s carved out for himself and everything else he does as a sense of duty.’
In Time magazine she adds: ‘The Queen, at 87, is scaling back her work and the prince is taking up the slack, to the potential detriment of his network of charities, initiatives and causes.’
On the dancefloor: Prince Charles doing a tango with Adriana Vasile in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the 1990s
Charles serves as patron of 428 charities and has founded more than 25. Miss Mayer says he has been pruning and merging his causes into the 16 strongest that he can be sure will flourish with less of his attention.
Charles says: ‘Obviously, these things have grown like Topsy over the years, as I’ve seen what I feel needs to be done.
‘I couldn’t do it all at once. I couldn’t at Highgrove just do the whole garden in one or two years. Bit by bit, you go round.’
At Birkhall, the prince’s royal residence on the Balmoral estate, Charles told Miss Mayer: ‘We’re busily wrecking the chances for future generations at a rapid rate of knots by not recognising the damage we’re doing to the natural environment, bearing in mind that this is the only planet that we know has any life on it.’
William, Kate and their baby George paid Charles and Camilla a visit that day and the prince told Miss Mayer he now takes joy in his ‘wonderful wife’.
‘And of course now a grandson, which is what this is all about. It’s everybody else’s grandchildren I’ve been bothering about, but the trouble is if you take that long a view people don’t always know what you’re on about.’
Miss Mayer says Charles has been plagued by the perception that he is aloof and indulged but in reality he is a ‘passionate philanthropist’. She says he is one of the world’s most prolific charitable entrepreneurs and what one friend called ‘an amplifier of messages and a conductor of ideas’.
In the article Charles says of his charity, the Prince’s Trust: ‘A few people are lucky enough to know exactly what they want to do.
‘But there’s a hell of a lot of others who don’t really know and may not be obviously academic.’ Miss Mayer writes: ‘He seems unaware that he’s also describing his own struggle.’
A Clarence House spokesman said of the suggestion that he viewed his future duties as ‘joyless’: ‘This is not the Prince of Wales’s view and should not be attributed to him as he did not say these words.
‘The prince has dutifully supported the Queen all his life and his official duties and charitable work have always run in parallel.’