Richard Ingrams: Prince Charles must put his faith in posterity


Related Topics

A newspaper article about Prince Charles suggests that his feelings of general resentment have been exacerbated by all the attention currently being given by the media to Prince William and his young bride.

Described as "increasingly edgy", Charles is looking for ways to win approval from the nation. "He wants to be respected for his views and for what he has done for the country," says an unnamed friend. "At the moment, he feels his contribution to the fabric of humanity is not properly recognised."

I know exactly how he feels. Every year I scan all the names on the honours list hoping to find some belated recognition for my contribution. And where is my lifetime achievement award from grateful colleagues? Why have I not been nominated for the Orwell Prize? Charles is not the only one to be passed over, despite having done his bit to preserve the delicate fabric of humanity as the forces of barbarism seek to tear it apart.

As someone who is considerably older than Charles, I would advise him that all of us in the preservation of the fabric of humanity business continually have to bear in mind how many great men there have been in the past whose genius was never appreciated by their contemporaries. Van Gogh sold precious few of his paintings in his lifetime; Mozart was buried in a paupers' grave, etc.

Charles should take comfort from the hope that in years to come, when he is long dead, humanity will look back with gratitude towards a man who did so much to preserve its tattered fabric.

Old enough to be reviled

Men shut their doors against a setting sun. That line from Shakespeare's Timon of Athens has been in my mind as I watch the long, drawn-out but riveting decline and fall of Rupert Murdoch. People blame the revelations about phone hacking for the way in which politicians have all of them now turned on Murdoch after years of grovelling to him.

They grovelled not only to Murdoch but to all his fellow press lords regardless of their unsavoury habits. Thatcher entertained Conrad Black, now in prison in America, in the cabinet room at Downing Street. When Robert Maxwell drowned, he was buried on the Mount of Olives to the accompaniment of glowing tributes from all political leaders. The great legal eminence Lord Goodman even proposed a memorial service in St Paul's Cathedral.

The only reason why Murdoch can now be reviled is that he is a very old man who may not be with us for much longer. He is also, by the look of him and by the evidence of this week's interview in the Wall Street Journal, beginning to lose his grip on reality.

Politicians who grovelled in the past can now feel free to put the boot in with impunity. And they can blame the supposedly shocking revelations about the News of the World, just like those shareholders who have been offloading their shares in his companies. But they have seen the signs of incipient senility and are hurrying to shut their doors against the setting sun.

How am I supposed to count butterflies?

One way and another it promises to be a busy weekend for me, so I am doubtful if I will be able to play my part in Sir David Attenborough's Big Butterfly Count. Sir David, 86, is concerned, as Prince Charles himself is, by our urban populations' divorce from nature. Most people, according to Attenborough, have little contact with wild creatures from one day to the next. The only wildlife they are likely to see are rats and pigeons – and they aren't even wild, he says.

We all have to do our bit, I can see. But has Sir David considered how difficult it is to count butterflies? I have tried looking in my garden and can report that currently there are quite a few cabbage whites flying about. But given the way they flit from flower to flower, how can I be sure that I haven't already counted the particular specimen that has caught my eye? And the more there are of us doing this, the more difficult it will be.

It will be much easier later on to count the number of caterpillars I will crush to death when they do their best to eat up my prize collection of nasturtiums.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas