Lindy McDowell: Is Kate Middleton such good news for Charles?
Far be it from me to defend Prince Charles.
But with the opinion polls calling for William to leapfrog him in the succession, the tabloids enthusiastically resurrecting the ghost of Diana, the Facebooking bishop weighing in and the Twittering trendies leaping to distance themselves from anything that might get commemorated on a china plate, the contrary part of me is actually starting to feel sorry for the old boy.
The upcoming nuptials of Wills and Kate have once again called into question his role and Camilla’s potential title.
But not only is he required to grimace and bear it all. He’s also got to pick up the tab for the wedding bash. Or most of it, anyway.
Chas is never described as just plain angry by the famous “sources” who channel his views to the media. Seemingly that’s not cross enough for an heir. Incandescent is the preferred term.
These days, he has a fair bit to be incandescent about.
Even if Kate doesn’t turn out to be a sort of Continuity Diana, the engagement ring, the opinion polls, the response to that remark about Queen Camilla, it must all take him back to the days of annus horribilis.
And the wedding bandwagon is only beginning to gather pace...
Already, along with the commemorative crockery and even commemorative garden plants, there’s a “replica” of the £250,000 engagement ring on offer. Yours for £60.
Meanwhile, Kate is being warned off her favourite Brazilian dress designer over fears that the wedding gown might turn out “too sexy”.
The Brazilian in question, incidentally, is famed for her conservative taste. Wagner, she ain’t.
Which brings us back to poor Charles.
A man so out of step with the public mood right now, he probably thinks that Wagner was a German composer.