Sunday, June 08, 2014

The heir to the throne

Spaniards who oppose the monarchy here are not making a personal protest about Filipe who is seen by most as a safe pair of hands to head the country. The same cannot be said for Britain where Charles is viewed by many as eccentric bordering on dangerous.

HIs latest venture is to try an convince people to buy articles made of wool rather than those made from synthetic fibres. Charles is concerned that sheep farmers are committing suicide because their livelihoods are dwindling. Some would say his flock of Welsh Lleyn sheep at Highgrove means he has a vested interest in the subject but of course Charles is thinking more of our welfare than his own interests.

To prove his case, Charles has set up an experiment at Clarence House where he will set fire to duvets, jackets and carpets to prove that wool is safer than other materials. He also plans to bury a wool jersey along with a synthetic one. After four months, both will be dug up to show that wool rots safely into the ground whereas synthetic fibres remain intact.

The aim of all this is to convince us to buy products made from wool which is fine except for the fact that wool is a lot more expensive than the alternatives. It is also surpassed by man made fibres for many purposes – for example wool readily absorbs moisture and becomes heavy as anyone who has worn a wool coat in the rain can testify.

Like he did for his other causes, Charles has become patron of an international campaign for wool. In his bid to make wool fashionable he is trying to enlist designers like Vivienne Westwood and High Street stores such as Jigsaw and Marks & Spencer by inviting them to his bonfire.

Promoting wool is not a bad idea but is it the sort of thing we expect a monarch in waiting to be engaged in. Next he will be telling us to only eat expensive, organically grown vegetables – wait a minute – he has already done that! As heir apparent we can choose to ignore his eccentric notions but as king it would be a different matter altogether.

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