Chatshow Charlie: What Prince Charles said (and what he really meant) on This Morning
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Monday 07 January 2013
The sofa in the drawing room at Clarence House, Philip Schofield told viewers of This Morning yesterday, is the softest thing he's ever sat on. And the interview that he and Holly Willoughby conducted with the Prince about their programme's "You Can Be Heroes Week" was surely the softest that human eyes have ever beheld.
Clad in a grey pinstriped suit with a spotty blue tie, Prince Charles was invited to agree that the summer of 2012 had been a success, that the Jubilee had gone down well (don't mention the TV coverage!!), that the Olympics had owed a lot to the volunteer game-makers ("Some people don't realise how these people keep the whole show on the road") and had "reminded people how well the Brits do this sort of thing" while giving them "a new sense of purpose and belief". Noting that the perma-smiling Phil and the simpering Holly had become mentors to the Prince's Trust, he opined that the charity's success was "essentially due to marvellous people like you". Stand by for those CBEs, darlings.
More interesting was the Prince's body language, and the sludge of unspoken scandals that lay beneath the conversational millpond. His posture was hunched, his eyes nervy, his peculiar, wide-jawed smile hesitant and apologetic. He looked at his fawning inquisitors with a shy flirtatiousness that eerily recalled, er, Prince Diana being interviewed by Martin Bashir. Perhaps he was afraid Schofield was going to hand him a list of actors rumoured to be playing him in the film about Diana's last days.
When Schofield asked about children joining gangs instead of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, Charles replied that there's a waiting list of 80,000 longing to sign up for the latter organisations – but sadly, adult volunteers for leaders cannot be found. Their reluctance, however, surely isn't due to lack of public-spiritedness, as the Prince seemed to think: it's because would-be volunteers don't want to be suspected of anything untoward. Perhaps it was better not to mention Jimmy Savile, the Prince's former acquaintance, who used to offer marriage guidance advice to Charles and Diana in the 1980s.
There was a nice moment when Schofield asked if Prince Harry in Afghanistan was "a constant worry" to his father. Did we detect a twitch in the Prince's eye as he considered saying, "not half as much as when he's in Las Vegas with his arse on 100 bloody iPhones".
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