As preparations advance for the most significant royal wedding for a generation, there has been growing concern among senior royal aides about the attitude towards the event of the bridegroom's father.
Prince Charles and his future daughter-in-law have never been twin souls. It had been the Prince's hope that his older son would marry a country girl – many of the problems in his own first marriage, he believes, were caused by what he describes as Diana's "Knightsbridge mindset".
Unfortunately, Kate Middleton is allergic to dogs and, although she has been taking secret riding lessons, is not a natural horsewoman. On her first visit to Highgrove, she committed something of a gaffe, mistaking one of Charles's prize Mottled Houdan cockerels for a pheasant.
For a few days after the wedding announcement, Prince Charles was said to be in a profound depression, but since then he has rallied, insisting on becoming involved in the plans for the big day.
This enthusiasm has caused its own problems. To the dismay of the Lord Chamberlain's Office, which oversees the organisation of state occasions, the Prince has championed the idea of the first sustainable royal wedding.
The young couple, he has proposed, should walk the last 100 metres to the palace, with distinguished world leaders arriving in community buses powered by bio-fuel. At the service itself, the Bushman's Prayer would be read from the pulpit while the vows would be accompanied by an aboriginal dreamsong, a one-note hum in which wedding guests would connect to their sacred ancestors.
A senior royal aide tried without success to tone down the idea of a sustainable royal wedding but admitted defeat when Charles began talking about the Jungian belief that modern man needs to get in touch with his two million-year-old self.
On a more positive known, Prince Charles's Round Table, a group of advisers who include Jonathan Dimbleby, Stephen Fry, Julian Pettifer and gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh , have come up with proposals to make this a "people's royal wedding".
Plans discussed include an interview with the young couple by daytime TV's Lorraine Kelly, and the launch of an entirely new charitable foundation, Kate's Carers, whose public face will be the royal bride, Princess Catherine.Reuse content