Leading Article: A sense of true values

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The Independent Culture
NOW, THAT'S what we call class. Charlotte Church, the platinum- selling chorister from Cardiff, had a clutch of Seriously Grand Invitations for New Year's Eve. Indeed, it seems fair to assume that she was the only person in the world who received rival invitations from the Pope, the Queen and President Clinton for Millennium Eve. Most of us, if we were to hit the invitation jackpot in this way, would probably agonise about the etiquette. Is it more offensive to say no to the Queen or to the Pope? Few of the books cover that eventuality.

But Charlotte has elegantly sidestepped the problem - by refusing all three. She has decided to spend New Year's Eve with her grandparents, and to go to a concert of the Manic Street Preachers, her favourite band. She has, after all, met the Pope, the Queen and Clinton before. Meeting the Pope was "very exciting"; the Queen was "really, really lovely". But how many times can you exchange small talk with the Very Grand? Enough, Charlotte decided, was enough. She therefore said no "in the nicest possible way".

Funny, that. When adult musical and theatrical stars are invited to visit Downing Street, few can resist the lure. It takes a 13-year-old to cry: "So what?" Charlotte, you are a hero for our time.

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