Is Prince Charles doing a Diana?

Share
Related Topics
FAR be it from me to come between Prince Charles and Lord Wakeham, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. The Prince is lodging a formal complaint with the PCC over last Thursday's Mirror front page, half of which was filled with the banner headline, "HARRY'S HAD AN ACCIDENT." A letter from the Prince's deputy press secretary, which covered much of the rest of the front page, said: "This episode is not in our view in the public interest." I have no intention of prejudging the PCC's decision by offering an opinion on the complaint. Yet it does raise certain interesting issues.

If Prince Charles were preoccupied with his own dignity, then he would, I think, have lodged a complaint about an earlier Mirror front page, that of the previous Saturday, which, headed "YOU SEXY KING", was almost wholly occupied by a photograph of the Prince, in a dole queue at a Sheffield Jobcentre, trying to do the dole queue dance featured in the film The Full Monty.

Since Prince Charles is certainly preoccupied, very properly, with the welfare of his sons, Princes William and Harry, it would be interesting to know what he made of the "Sun Royal Exclusive" which occupied the front page and two succeeding pages of last Monday's Sun. The front page was dominated by an immense headline, "WILLS AND HARRY DO FULL MONTY AT DAD'S PARTY." The story described how "Saucy princes William and Harry did a Full Monty strip at dad Charles's 50th birthday bash", with the brothers performing a partial (and entirely decorous) striptease to a tune from the film.

Half a page, too, was taken up with another banner headline, "PRINCES WATCHED HAPPILY AS DAD AND HIS MISTRESS DANCED TO ABBA." Page three included a continuation of the Full Monty story, together with, side by side, large pictures of a bejewelled Camilla Parker Bowles and of Prince William in combat gear and a woolly Aston Villa hat.

Let me make clear that I regard this material in the Sun as perfectly reputable journalism, skilfully presented. But the combat gear worn in the picture of Prince William derived from his education, since he was still wearing it after all-night manoeuvres with the Eton College Army Cadet Corps; and Prince Charles's spokeswoman has said that the complaint against the Mirror has "everything to do with the privacy to which Harry and William are entitled during their education".

Moreover, it would be interesting to have an explanation from the spokeswoman of how these Sun pages were in the public interest when the Mirror's story about Prince Harry was said not to be. Of course, although the Sun's story was not only reputable journalism, but also independent journalism, it did happen to suit Prince Charles's purpose.

It was often alleged that Diana, Princess of Wales sought to manipulate the press. Can it now be claimed that Prince Charles is perfectly ready to accept coverage of the young princes's activities, even when they derive from their education, when his own purposes are served, but complains when they are not?

Everyone in public life, from back-bench MPs upwards, would welcome the ability to manage press coverage according to their own criteria and convenience. Is Prince Charles on his way to succeeding where even Alastair Campbell cannot?

React Now

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

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Russian President Vladimir Putin 'hits his foes where it hurts'  

Dominic Raab: If Western politicians’ vested interests protect Putin, take punishment out of their hands

Dominic Raab
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning