- Title: "Rebel" Prince Charles could put monarchy at risk, author says
- Date: 6th November 2018
- Summary: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM) (FILE - 31 AUGUST, 1997) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) NEWSPAPER KIOSK
- Embargoed: 20th November 2018 18:42
- Keywords: Prince Charles 70 birthday Queen Elizabeth Prince of Wales Princess Diana Duchess of Cornwall Tom Bower
- Location: VARIOUS LOCATIONS
- City: VARIOUS LOCATIONS
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Royals
- Reuters ID: LVA00H95E2C7B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Prince Charles, the "rebel" heir to the British throne, will face a battle to win over Britons and could even put the monarchy at risk if he does not temper his strong views when he eventually becomes king, a royal biographer says.
Charles, who turns 70 next week, will be the oldest monarch to be crowned when he finally succeeds his 92-year-old mother Queen Elizabeth II.
Tom Bower, whose unauthorised "Rebel Prince" biography of Charles was published earlier this year, said the prince is intelligent, kind and sensitive but also selfish, ungrateful, and a lover of luxury whose stubborn streak could risk the institution itself.
"I think Charles will try his hardest to be a good king," Bower, who describes himself as a committed monarchist, told Reuters. "The question will be how he behaves, whether he abandons a lot of the qualities that were shown in the preceding 20, 30 years."
"I do believe the queen and (her husband) Prince Philip have been thankful to live so long to prevent their son being the monarch because he would have jeopardised it," he added.
Such critical portraits of the prince are not new and especially since the public breakdown of his marriage to his late first wife Princess Diana in the 1990s, his lifestyle and views on issues such as climate change, religion, alternative medicine and architecture have often had unfavourable treatment.
"As a teenager, I remember feeling deeply about this appallingly excessive demolition job being done on every aspect of life," he said in a written response to Vanity Fair magazine for an interview published this month.
"In putting my head above the parapet on all these issues, and trying to remind people of their long-term, timeless relevance to our human experience - never mind trying to do something about them - I found myself in conflict with the conventional outlook which, as I discovered, is not exactly the most pleasant situation to find yourself."
Bower, whose biography was based on interviews with 120 people including those who worked closely for the royals, said the prince was committed to subjects like the environment but was someone unable to take criticism.
"He's very keen to criticise others but cannot tolerate those who challenge him," Bower said.
"He's a person who is driven, who undoubtedly wants to do good but doesn't understand that the consequences of a lot of his actions cause a lot of trouble and he doesn't like to be told that he might be doing something wrong."
Former aides who have worked closely with Charles say many of the stories in Bowers book are simply not true and Charles himself even rubbished an account that he travels with his own toilet seat.
"I can understand why critics will write ... negatively, but all they're doing is taking a facet of him and making it the most negative possible," one former close aide of many years who described himself as a big fan of Charles told Reuters.
"It's not such a contradiction that people have these polar views of him because somewhere in the middle is the real man."
Supporters of the prince say the detractors are often those with axes to grind airing exaggerated grievances.
Bower said Charles had rebelled against his parents and expectations, saying the demise of his relationship with Diana and the romance with his second wife Camilla was part of that rebellion.
"He has a view of the world and he wants to impose his view of that world, so in every way he doesn't want to conform to expectations, so that makes him a rebel," he said.
"I think that if he's a rebel king, the monarchy will be in danger and I think that is the great problem we face."
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