Aww, we missed his birthday

It’s belated, but maybe you can go read this lovely tribute to Prince Charles by Edzard Ernst.

The young Prince Charles went on a journey of ‘spiritual discovery’ into the wilderness of northern Kenya. His guru and guide was Laurens van der Post (who was later discovered to be a fraud and compulsive fantasist and to have fathered a child with a 14-year old girl entrusted to him during a sea voyage). Van der Post wanted to awake Charles’ young intuitive mind and attune it to the ideas of Carl Jung’s ’collective unconscious’ which allegedly unites us all through a common vital force. It is this belief in vitalism (long obsolete in medicine and science) that provides the crucial link to alternative medicine: virtually every form of the otherwise highly diverse range of alternative therapies is based on the assumption that some sort of vital force or energy exists. Charles was so taken by van der Post that, after his death, he established an annual lecture in his honour.


  1. woggler says

    For many of us Republicans in Britain, Charles is our best hope for seeing the end of the monarchy.

  2. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Many of us Republicans in Australia fear that Britain will be a Republic before we are! Then we get saddled with em :(

  3. robro says

    Charles seems an example of the fact that education isn’t the only thing a person needs. He’s gone to the best schools…Trinity College, Cambridge no less…yet he appears to not have good sense. Let’s hope his reign isn’t ruinous, as well as short. Or perhaps there will be a constitutional crises and he’ll have to opt out for William.

    Any word on his spawn and where he stands on this claptrap?

    On the subject of talking to plants: not surprisingly, a person’s success with plants has nothing to do with talking to them per se, but it does help to pay attention to them. My wife is very successful with the little buggers, but she doesn’t talk to them. She tends them, she prunes and pinches them back. They flourish like crazy. On the other hand, I kill them with neglect.

    knut7777 @ #3 — That’s The Aristocrats, not just the royal ones…but they’re all the same.

    Joe @ #4 — And just think, as future head of the CoE Charles is virtually a priest. Perhaps we can use his.

  4. katkinkate says

    Don’t worry about Charles’ reign. He passed on his place in the succession to his oldest son in order to marry his long-term lover Camilla (a divorcee, I think, and therefore not consort material). The Queen insisted. He had a choice between his relationship with her and the throne, so he abdicated.

  5. Al Dente says

    Right now Charles sole function is to get out of bed every morning and ask, “Is Mummy still alive?”

  6. Menyambal --- inesteemable says

    katkinkate, the official website of the royal family lists Chucko as the heir apparent. His marriage isn’t even royally valid from the Queen’s point of view, so it seems unlikely she’d disinherit him for it. There is speculation about his reign name, and nothing, nowhere, about him being let out.

    Wikipedia says he has done some environmental good, though the medical shit is likely to kill people faster than they can be helped. I get the feeling nobody is able to tell him that he is wrong—he is living in a fairy-tale world, after all.

  7. katkinkate says

    I heard about it in the ABC news (Australian) years ago. Nothing recent though. Maybe the Queen changed her mind.

  8. Menyambal --- inesteemable says

    Well, she only allowed it as there would be no children to muck up the inheritance. Cami will only be consort. The Queen, as head of the Church of England, did not attend the wedding.

    Who knows what Chucko will decree about it once he gets to be king.

  9. says

    Even if Camilla was still of child-bearing age it wouldn’t make any difference to the succession – her children by Charles would still be outranked by those from his first marriage. And there’s no legal way Charles could have been passed over in favour of William.

    Incidentally, if Charles hadn’t been a member of the royal family he would never have got into Cambridge or probably any other university!

  10. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Woggler @ 6 – Absolutely! I just wish that it would happen sooner rather then later because they have direct influence over law-making which is not great (Queen and Charles are consulted on any legislation that affects their interests, there’s been a bit of a fight over FOI requests as this influence is usually hidden).

    He’s definitely still #1 in line. And, fwiw, Camilla is much more “Establishment” then Diana ever was if push comes to shove. All the church politics strikes me as amusing as the C of E was brought into being by Henry VIII. Enough said.

  11. joe_k says

    To clarify: marrying a divorced person does not necessarily make a royal ineligible to become monarch in the UK. The reason Edward VIII was forced to abdicate was a combination of the fact that Wallis Simpson’s two living ex-husbands made her unpopular — Baldwin, the Prime Minister, warned Edward that the British people wouldn’t accept her — and the fact, more importantly, that she was Catholic, and Catholics are not allowed in the succession as it conflicts with the role as Head of the Church of England.
    Charles is fine on all counts: he already has three legitimate male heirs (William and Harry, and William’s son George), from a respectable marriage with the daughter of a noble family; Camilla is both a) also from a respectable family (her father was a major; her mother the daughter of a baron) and b) not a Catholic, and c) she is past child-bearing age anyway, so there’s no danger of putting Catholics into the succession.

    Incidentally, Camilla is recognised as Charles’ wife by the royal family, as if she wasn’t she would not be eligible to use the titles Princess of Wales (Camilla chooses not to use this title), Duchess of Cornwall & Duchess of Rothesay.

  12. robinjohnson says

    Camilla Parker-Bowles is a Catholic, or at least was raised Catholic, according to her Wikipedia page.

  13. sonofrojblake says

    Just to be clear, post 10 is absolute bullshit in every single respect.

    Don’t worry about Charles’ reign.

    No, DO worry about it, he’s a self-admitted loon who has a direct line to and influence over the democratically elected government, and he has veto over laws. His mother has (almost) never used it, but there is no guarantee he won’t and good reason to think he might.

    He passed on his place in the succession to his oldest son

    Bullshit. Never happened, not legal, not possible, and all indications are that he wouldn’t have even if he could.

    in order to marry his long-term lover Camilla

    There was never anything stopping him marrying this woman other than PR.

    a divorcee, I think, and therefore not consort material

    Her former husband’s name is Andrew, so this makes this accurate, just about.

    The Queen insisted.

    Utter, utter bullshit.

    He had a choice between his relationship with her and the throne, so he abdicated.

    You can only abdicate if you’re the monarch.

    You appear to have got your impression of current events from a viewing of the fictionalised movie “The King’s Speech”.


    Edzard Ernst is interesting – skeptics howled a bit when in the early 90s he set up a university department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Exeter, UK. He’d trained in acupuncture, homeopathy and other stuff, oh no. Quackademia! But then he turned out to be one of the good guys. He used his position to attack quackery, rather than support it. Look him up, if you don’t know his work already.

  14. says

    @Menyambal #15 – It is my understanding that the Crown cannot decree anything, other than decree a particular period as “Be Nice to Kittens Week.” The Crown wields considerable power… in theory. In reality, though, none of that power can be exercised without causing a huge constitutional crisis that would almost certainly topple the throne.

  15. kmareld says

    What is left of the monarchies of Europe have become powerless shells that are obligated to look intriguing. They are mere shills for the tourist trade and the media. But it does help the tourist trade. For some strange reason we Americans can’t get enough of their antics. We still call our four year old girls ‘Princeess’. What a lot of horse manure.

  16. Sili says

    It occurs to me that the monarchy should be much stronger than it is at present. I recommend a 30C dilution of all remaining monarchical influence.

    Plz to be stop mocking homoeopathy, if you don’t understand the first thing about it.

    What *they* want is a 30C dilution of Cromwell. What *we* want is a 30C of Charlesianity.

  17. Sili says

    She can’t be one now, since as the heir, Chuck wouldn’t have been allowed to marry her if she were.

  18. says


    For some strange reason we Americans can’t get enough of their antics.

    Speak for yourself, please. This ‘merican could not possibly be less interested in any monarchy. I’m not remotely interested in ‘celebrities’, either.

    We still call our four year old girls ‘Princeess’.

    I’ve never called a girl, no matter what age, ‘Princess’. I’ve never called a boy, no matter what age, ‘Prince’. I have never had an animal called Princess/Prince/Duke/Earl/ and so on.

    What a lot of horse manure.

    Your inability to speak for yourself certainly is a pile of manure.

  19. kmareld says

    OK I’ll be less general.
    The US media as in ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and many other outlets had an immense fetish for Princess Diana and other
    British royal family members. I question why we would be so interested.
    Many people call their daughters ‘Princess’ and their sons ‘Little Man’. I don’t and I didn’t say you did.
    I say that that the American fetish for monarchy as evidenced by the extensive US media coverage of it is a bunch of horse manure. Our (we, us the general American public) fetish for celebrity is the same horse manure.
    Am I being more clear?

  20. says

    How does the royal family help the tourist industry? If the Windsors were magicked out of existence tomorrow their castles, art collections etc would remain. Italy, France, Germany and other countries have plenty of tourist attractions with royal associations, even though they’ve dumped their royal families.

  21. katkinkate says

    sonofrojblake @ 22. Thankyou for pointing out where my memory was wrong. Sorry it seemed to upset you so much.

  22. sonofrojblake says

    Sorry it seemed to upset you so much.

    Condescending passive-aggressive not-pology. Keep going, you’re looking better and better.

  23. says


    There was a kerfuffle over Charlie’s relationship with Camilla when they were romantically linked, back in the early ’70s. Accounts vary as to who did what, but it’s apparently pretty-much agreed that Liz would have put the kibosh on any marriage plans back then, as Cam was at that time seen as “not suitable.”

    Maybe that’s what you’re remembering.

  24. davem says

    Many of us Republicans in Australia fear that Britain will be a Republic before we are! Then we get saddled with em

    Many of us UK republicans are wondering why the Aussies are hanging on to foreign royalty. While you (and other countries) hang on, it makes it even more difficult for us to let go. But if you want them, I’ll be glad to hand them over :0)

  25. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    IIRC, back when Charles and Camilla married, it was announced that (despite her technically being entitled to use the title “Princess of Wales”) she would not and would instead be known as the Duchess of Cornwall. She is the Princess of Wales, but the lesser title is what is used in everything but the most formal court situations. She will, when the time comes, be Queen Consort. The UK does not now (nor has it ever) had a tradition of morganic marriage, so if Camilla were ineligible for that rank, than Charles would be forced to choose between his status as heir-apparent or her. Since Charles is now both heir to the throne and Camilla’s husband, than Camilla is automatically entitled to all of Charles’ current and future titles, so long as they are married and both living – after Charles’ death (assuming she survives him) she’ll be entitled to maintain her status at the time of his death, but with modification (“Dowager” will be appended to everything). Her not using the Princess of Wales title has zero to due with her eligibility and everything to do with PR.

    Even if she were to have a child (highly unlikely, given her age), that child would come after William, George, and Harry in the succession.