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J o h n Bo wn

C H A L I A N D T H E
J A P A N E S E S E C R E T
W E A P O N
AUSTIN MACAULEY
Copyright John Bown
The right of John Bown to be identified as author of this work has
been asserted by him in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the
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without the prior permission of the pub#ishers"
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pub#ication may be #iab#e to crimina# prosecution and ci$i# c#aims for
damages"
Co$er art by 'irginia (mith"
A C)P cata#ogue record for this tit#e is
a$ai#ab#e from the British *ibrary"
ISBN 978 1 84963 074 0
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+irst Pub#ished ,-./
Austin 0 1acau#ey Pub#ishers *td"
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Printed 0 Bound in 7reat Britain
Chapter One
The stab#e yard was in deep ear#y morning shadow as the two
riders wa#ked their mounts side by side across the echoing
cobb#es and out under the great arched yard entrance onto the
yie#ding gra$e##ed pathway" 8nguided the horses crossed the
path onto the we## worn turf and headed away from the great
house towards the open park #and beyond" The anima#s were
g#ad to be out ear#y and on#y the gent#e restraint of the riders
suppressed their desire to break into a trot"
They rode in si#ence, he upright in the sadd#e, hat#ess, eyes
ga&ing ahead9 she somewhat hunched, a head scarf tied
unceremonious#y beneath her chin, eyes #owered to the
beautifu##y groomed mane of her magnificent b#ack mare"
About fifty yards a#ong the path they reached a fi$e bar
gate" Being nearest she reached for the high iron hand#e that
freed the catch and the we## trained b#ack pushed through the
gate into the meadow beyond" 4ith unconscious contro# he
manoeu$red his horse in order to c#ose the gate behind them"
(ide by side again, and without a spoken word, they broke
first into a fast trot, then into a cantor, and then, gi$ing the
horses their heads, they ga##oped down across the meadow and
up the inc#ine on the other side"
As they breasted the rise, the stream in the $a##ey beyond,
si#$er with morning sun#ight, caught their eyes, bringing them
mutua# p#easure, so that they reined in, sti##ing the horses"
Turning their heads they smi#ed at one another, in
acknow#edgement of the ritua# they were sharing" )t was the
first time for $ery many years that they had ridden out together
so ear#y"
(he sat now on a sma## rocky outcrop that di$erted the
stream, creating a shing#e beach beyond it, where he stood
tossing pebb#es into the water" The unfettered horses waited
obedient#y nearby, occasiona##y gra&ing the dew soaked grass"
:4e##,; she asked, turning her now unscar$ed head towards
him, :4hat is it you want to say to me< =ou didn>t bring me
out here this ear#y to watch you toss stones in the water, fun
though that may be";
:%o ) didn>t 1ama"; ?eaching down he picked up a pebb#e
and tossed it with perfect aim into a sma## poo# some way down
stream" @e smi#ed at his ski##, there were so many use#ess things
he was good at"
:)>m going to throw in the towe# 1ama, )>m going to 3uit"
?enounce in fa$our of 4i##s";
)n the si#ence that fo##owed his announcement, he reached
down for another pebb#e9 this time #anding it in an e$en farther
poo#"
(he brought her fingers together in front of her mouth, to
3ue## any hurried utterance, her eyes cast down to the water
cascading across the sheet of grey pebb#es be#ow her" @ad she
been eApecting this, fe#t it coming, despite a## the outward signs
to the contrary<
:There is abso#ute#y no need for you to do anything so
drastic" There isn>t any rea# pressure on you" =our popu#arity
has been rising e$er since your trip to Austra#ia, despite your
Btrue confessions>" =ou>$e got Diana on the run, don>t gi$e up
now";
@e ga$e a derisory #augh" :Perhaps we shou#d arrange for
somebody to take a pot shot at me with a starting pisto# e$ery
few months" %o 1other, it>s not rea##y the point" )f ) were more
popu#ar than 7ran, )>d sti## ha$e to chuck it in";
:%o, you don>t ha$e to" )f we continue keeping Diana out of
the pub#ic eye, opinion wi## keep mo$ing your way" P#ease
don>t do anything stupid that you>## regret" They rea##y don>t
want to get rid of any of us you know, none of them, and
certain#y not those who matter, because we gi$e them immense
power and make them fee# $ery specia#, so there>s #ots of time"
There is abso#ute#y no threat to me" Time wi## hea# a##" 4e>re
#ike the weather you know";
:The weather<; @e stopped his throw turning to #ook up at
her"
:=es, and the channe#, the water round us, we>re part of the
uni3ueness of Britain, its especia# difference";
:1aybe, you cou#d we## be right about that, but it>s not
rea##y re#e$ant" ) actua##y want to chuck it in";
This time the stone missed the poo# and twanged off a
bou#der into the bank" @e pu##ed a face, hating e$en sma##
fai#ures"
:4hat>s been happening between Diana and ) has changed
things for me, ) can>t any #onger fee# duty bound, or perhaps )
fee# an e$en stronger duty" )>m not renouncing to sa$e the
monarchy, )>m not actua##y worried about it, )>m sure it>s 3uite
safe" )>m grabbing the opportunity offered to sa$e myse#f, to get
out and put an end to my impotent #ife";
:Char#es, what are you saying<; (he ran her fingers through
her hair, c#asping them behind her, and #ifting her chin, c#osing
her eyes against the g#are of the sun"
:)>m saying ) ha$e to ha$e my freedom" The freedom to
speak out" ) cannot any #onger p#ay the ro#e of Bmy country right
or wrong>" ) can>t stay gagged watching Britain go down the
chute" =ou know ) sti## think of Da$id 4indsor as some kind of
traitor, not because he appro$ed of @it#er, if he did, but because
he chose persona# happiness abo$e the ca## of duty" %ot that he
got that much happiness by a## accounts";
:4on>t you be doing eAact#y what he did, gi$ing up the
crown for Cami##a<;
:%o, no, Cami##a has nothing to do with this, other than
indirect#y by causing Diana to b#ow out on me" )t wi## make
things easier for us, true, but she>s not the reason )>m doing it"
(he doesn>t e$en know, because if she did she>d try to ta#k me
out of it" )>m not opting for an easy #ife" ) actua##y want to do
something before it>s too #ate and )>m too o#d" Do things ) can>t
as Prince or Cing" )>m fed up with being a pub#ic non achie$er,
a writer of #etters" )t>s been entire#y different for me than for
you" =ou>$e ne$er had gaunt#ets thrown in your face and been
unab#e to pick them up, because you>re a woman" 4omen sti##
don>t ha$e to Dustify their eAistence as we men do9 you can, if
you choose, Dust be" %o, )>m not going to be another Da$id
4indsor" )>m going to be someone comp#ete#y different"; @e
tossed another stone fierce#y" This time his aim was sure" :)t
was when ) rea#ised ) was becoming Dea#ous of Diana>s
popu#arity, that ) knew ) had to do something before ) #ost it
entire#y";
:*ost it< *ost what<; There was eAasperation in her tone
now"
:1y sou#, my se#fErespect" )>m becoming an indu#gent
comp#ainant, seeing what>s wrong with e$erything e#se and
ignoring what>s wrong with me" )t>s not natura# you know to be
raised, educated and trained to be someone $ery specia#, utter#y
uni3ue and important and then grow up to find out you ha$e to
#i$e your #ife #ike a castrated pood#e, c#ipped, shampooed and
he#d on a short #eash by your 1istress Britannia" To be
regu#ar#y trotted out for the admiration and en$y of a## it isn>t
what Cings and Princes were meant to be";
:) can>t abdicate Char#es, you know that";
:7od noF Do that and ) wi## be trapped" )>m re#ying on you
being there for years to come" )t>s not titu#ar power )>m after"
)>m sorry to say this, but ) see you as a spayed pood#e too" Gur
entire fami#y is emascu#ated, and they wonder why we>re
different" )f we raise an eyebrow in criticism of our master>s
actions, we are to#d to shut up" ) don>t want to shut up"; 4ith
carefu# aim he tossed another stone and smi#ed in satisfaction as
it fe## with a p#op into the centre of a far distant poo#"
*ater that morning @er 1aDesty was a#one in the breakfast
room, pushing bare#y tasted kedgeree around her p#ate, when
she heard the he#icopter take off" (he rose from the tab#e and
crossed to the great bay window as the aircraft rose abo$e the
east turret" 4e## c#ear of the bui#ding it dipped sideways and
receded (outhwards" (he was sti## watching it when she heard
Phi#ip>s $oice from the doorway"
:4ho>s that f#ying off<; Dressed sti## in dressing gown and
s#ippers he shuff#ed towards the sideboard in search of bacon
and eggs"
:Char#esF; (he inf#ected his name with a sigh he cou#d not
fai# to pick up on as she crossed towards the sideboard for
coffee"
:4here>s he off to< @ighgro$e< Gr has he got a date with
1rs PB<;
:%either" @e wi## be back at @ighgro$e tonight" ?ight now
he>s on his way to Che3uers";
:Che3uersF 4hy the he##>s he going there<;
(he poured her coffee before turning to #ook her husband
direct#y in the eye" (#ow to answer, he read her #ook" :@e>s not
going to do anything stupid, is he<;
:=ou wi## certain#y think so, yes";
:Gh shit, noF The b#oody foo#F; @e dropped his sti## empty
p#ate back on the heated pi#e, shattering it and the one beneath"
:@e #eft you to te## me, did he<;
:%ot eAact#y" =ou were #ate up, his appointment is for ten
o>c#ock" @e Dust natura##y to#d me first" @e wou#d ha$e to#d you,
if you>d come out ear#ier" @e debated whether to wake you, but
took the easier option";
:*ike he a#ways does" 1y 7od, what a b#oody mess";
Pouring himse#f an orange Duice he shuff#ed towards the
window, Dust in time to g#impse the receding speck in the sky"
Chapter Two
John 1aDor was more than usua##y worried" The summer recess
had Dust begun and he had hoped another week of work wou#d
wrap up state affairs ade3uate#y for %ora and him to get away to
their p#ace in the sun" They both desperate#y needed a rest" )t
had been a hard year that had seen the Tory maDority cut to ten,
with few $ictories for his go$ernment" The autumn ahead
promised no #et up in the batt#e for Britain that the nineties
seemed to ha$e become" Taking work with him on ho#iday he
was by now more than happy to accept, popping back for a day
or two to 4estminster in some mini crisis he cou#d cope with, it
had to be eApected, but not getting away, out of number ten, out
of 4estminster, out of *ondon and 5ng#and, that wou#d be too
bad"
(o when the Prince of 4a#es> secretary rang to arrange a
pri$ate appointment, a#arm be##s started ringing #oud in his
head" @e cou#d on#y think of one reason for a meeting and it
wasn>t an offer to pay further taA" )t was a## $ery we## for the
Diana c#ack to scream for him to renounce the succession, they
wou#dn>t be c#earing up the constitutiona# mess, he wou#d" @e
watched the he#icopter #and from behind curtains in the entrance
ha## c#oak room, where his ner$ous tummy had dri$en him at
the sound of the aircraft ho$ering o$erhead" Three peop#e
emerging, Dust two security men, B@e>s a#one, what does that
bode, ) wonder<> @e hurried his ab#utions, Dust managing to
emerge into the entrance ha## before the front door was opened"
A#one together, some few minutes #ater, comfortab#y seated
facing each other in the study" Char#es with a cup of coffee, he
without, for fear of aggra$ating his fragi#e tummy and both
wearing somewhat forced smi#es, the meeting commenced"
:) might as we## get straight to the point Prime 1inister" )>m
going to renounce my right to the succession" )>$e thought #ong
and hard about it and it seems the best course open to me";
:%o (ir, it certain#y isn>t, ) assure you" %o one who matters
is ca##ing for you to go, the succession is perfect#y secure
despite the separation and e$en in the e$ent of di$orce" 4ith her
1aDesty in such fine hea#th it wi## be years before the 3uestion
of the succession need serious#y arise anyway" %o one who
carries any weight in this country, or abroad for that matter, has
3uestioned your right to the throne and your abi#ity to fi## it
sp#endid#y, when that day arri$es" )>$e spoken to no one who
doesn>t #ook up to you with sincere respect";
:4e## it>s kind of you to say that and ) do rea#ise that )
cou#d ride out these current prob#ems" )t rea##y isn>t that )>m
fee#ing forced out, it>s 3uite honest#y that )>m taking ad$antage
of an opportunity to get out" )>$e decided that ) rea##y don>t
want the Dob, it>s not something ) can tru#y, happi#y eAecute" )t
isn>t the waiting to inherit, )>m far more fearfu# of how )>##
beha$e if ) e$er do" ) Dust don>t know how ) can keep my mouth
shut" ) may be an awfu##y spoi#ed brat but )>m not a simp#e
p#easure seeker" ) can>t Dust indu#ge my body and wa$e to the
crowds and smi#e for the cameras and do the same thing o$er
and o$er again" 7od knows whether poor 4i##s wi## be capab#e
of it" 5Acuse me, for putting it so b#unt#y, but 3uite honest#y 1r
1aDor, if your successors don>t want a ra$ing #unatic back on
the throne you>d be rea##y we## ad$ised to #et me go" ) ha$e at
#east secured the succession";
:)>m profound#y sorry to hear you say this (ir, ) rea##y am" )
fee# it my duty to try to persuade you otherwise";
:=ou>## be wasting your time, my mind is 3uite made up"
@er 1aDesty has re#uctant#y accepted my decision" ) don>t know
what constitutiona# processes are in$o#$ed9 ) don>t eApect you
know either, that>s why )>m te##ing you now" ) thought that with
Par#iament in recess you>## ha$e p#enty of time to sort things out
before you ha$e to face the country" (o far on#y the Hueen and
my father know and ) won>t be going pub#ic before you ad$ise
me further";
:=ou>re 3uite right (ir, ) don>t know where we go from
here, )>## ha$e to meet with the *ord Chance##or, see what he
has to say, but it is $ery difficu#t to accept this is happening" )
can>t be#ie$e that it>s necessary";
:)t>s a mess, and )>m not b#aming Diana" (he>s simp#y
shown up the #udicrous situation my fami#y finds itse#f in,
ha$ing to try to #i$e out perfect fairy book #i$es in fu## pub#ic
$iew" )t can>t be done, not without hiding and pretence, #ying
and cheating" )>m #ike an actor with on#y one ro#e and no time
off from p#aying it" =es, we>re not bad#y paid, but if ) go on
doing it for the rest of my #ife )>## ne$er find out who ) rea##y
am" )>m tru#y sorry that at a time when the country has
prob#ems enough, ) seem to be adding to them and to your
persona# work#oad";
:Gh,; the P1 responded with a rather strained smi#e,
:that>s hard#y important, gi$en the circumstances"; They both
sat in si#ence for a few moments"
:1y 7od, how the wor#d is changingF;
:Perhaps it>s not such a bad thing,; said the Prince with a
smi#e, :)>m 3uite #ooking forward to being p#ain 1r Char#es
4indsor";
:=ou>## ne$er be that of course, you a#ways be a ?oya#
Prince, or a Duke, or some such, dependant on what her
1aDesty has to say";
:Gh noF *et me make it 3uite c#ear"; The Prince #eant
forward in his chair, hands raised to emphasise his words" :)
don>t know how it>s to be done, but at the end of a## this, ) want
to be simp#y Char#es 4indsor 5s3uire, or perhaps Commander
4indsor, since ) did actua##y earn that na$a# rank, but nothing
more" ) want no more and no #ess rights than any other ordinary
British subDect";
The P1 was due his routine meeting with @er 1aDesty at
Ba#mora# before going on ho#iday" Considering whether to
bring the meeting forward or arrange another he decided against
it" The day fo##owing Char#es> $isit back at no" . he ca##ed in
the *ord Chance##or, the Attorney 7enera# and the @ome
(ecretary, gratefu# that a## three were sti## in the country"
Presenting them with his bombshe##, he rather enDoyed their
predictab#e reactions" @e impressed upon them 3uite
unnecessari#y the need for secrecy" A## agreed that the task of
con$erting @?@ Prince of 4a#es, Duke Gf Cornwa##, 5ar# of
Chester where e$er, etcI etc, into p#ain 1r Char#es 4indsor,
might pro$e a formidab#e task, both to achie$e and to keep
under wraps, whi#e it was being done" Any #eak they a## agreed
wou#d make the reca## of Par#iament ine$itab#e, threatening a##
of their ho#idays" 4ith that thought rather than any imp#ications
for the future of the monarchy or constitution, the gent#emen
#eft with concentrated minds"
)n the Hueen>s study at Ba#mora# business proceeded
norma##y unti# a## routine matters had been dea#t with" @er
1aDesty beha$ed with her norma# warm efficiency, e$en
showing some sympathetic amusement at the go$ernment>s sti##
continuing prob#ems with rai# pri$atisation" (he had warned of
the difficu#ties it might present, that being as far as she had been
prepared to go in showing any disappro$a#"
John 1aDor had often acknow#edged to himse#f that when
her 1aDesty wished to concea# any opinion she might ha$e of
his go$ernment>s actions, she did it superb#y" (ometimes he
wondered whether she had any opinions, on#y to be reminded
that she certain#y had when she chose to eApress them"
:=ou know 1a>m that the Prince of 4a#es has been to see
me";
:*et>s share a g#ass of sherry whi#e we ta#k about this, sha##
we<;
:That sounds #ike a $ery good suggestion 1a>m";
(he herse#f did the honours, re$ea#ing a we##Estocked #i3uor
store concea#ed in an eighteen century commode" 7#asses were
generous#y charged and raised and the Hueen said, :To
Char#es";
:)ndeed,; he nodded, :to the Prince of 4a#es";
They both took a sip and smi#ed at each other
:) ha$e to ask your opinion of his decision 1a>m, whether
you fee# there>s any possibi#ity of him being persuaded to
change his mind< 4hether you appro$e of his decision< )n a
situation #ike this ) rea##y do need your he#p and ad$ice" +orgi$e
meF; @er 1aDesty had been about to rep#y but 1aDor cut her off"
:) must Dust add that, in accepting his ?oya# @ighness>s
instructions ) had a meeting with the *ord Chance##or, the
Attorney 7enera# and @ome (ecretary and ga$e instructions
they shou#d in$estigate in utmost secrecy any course of action
re3uired to imp#ement the Prince>s decision" That was as far as )
was prepared to go before speaking with you";
)n the brief pause before the Hueen responded, they both
took another sip"
:There>s no point trying to change his mind, ) know my
son" Phi#ip was at @ighgro$e yesterday trying" )>d ad$ised him
not to go" )>$e fe#t it coming for some time" The separation from
Diana is part#y an eAcuse" @e has said for years that he>d rea##y
#ike Bout>, for the sake of his sanity" )>m afraid it>s simp#y a
3uestion of doing it, how constitutiona##y, ) don>t know, but that
wi## sort out" @e>s renouncing in fa$our of 4i##iam of course
and )>d be #ying to pretend that many won>t we#come that" )>m
sure you don>t anticipate disorder";
:%o 1a>m, seems un#ike#y";
:)>m not happy about it,; she continued, :but it>s his #ife,
and ) don>t think his stepping down threatens B8s> in any way,
not any more than any of the other unfortunate crises our fami#y
seems to get into" )t might actua##y he#p us, 4i##iam being such
a $ery sympathetic chi#d" *ying in bed #ast night ) was
wondering where ) cou#d make him Duke of, a## the usua# tit#es
are current#y fi##ed";
:But your 1aDesty, at our meeting the Prince was 3uite
adamant that he wished to #ose a## his tit#es and pri$i#eges and
become p#ain Char#es 4indsor" @e made that point most
forcefu##y";
A pu&&#ed frown passed across the Hueen>s face, her mouth
opened to speak but for seconds she said nothing, then she
uttered, :1r Char#es 4indsor, sure#y not, he has to ha$e a
tit#e";
:=ou mean 1a>m that he can>t become a commoner, that
it>s not possib#e<; John 1aDor #iked this idea"
:%o, no that>s not what ) mean" ) suppose he can, if he
wants to, but what wou#d be the point< @e>s sti## a member of
the fami#y< There>s no 3uestion of sending him off to 1onte
Car#o or Bermuda" ) assume, he wi## want to continue with a##
his interests and acti$ities" There>s no comparison with the #ate
Duke of 4indsor" )>d #ike him to p#ay an acti$e ro#e as a
member of the fami#y" 4e a## know he has a great dea# to
offer";
:)ndeed we do 1a>m, my fee#ings eAact#y" @is
contributions to the pub#ic #ife of the country wi## be sad#y
missed" )f, as you say, he is determined to bow out of the
succession, do you think it possib#e you or perhaps his father
cou#d persuade him to retain some nob#e status< 1r Char#es
4indsor wou#d seem a sad and e$en demeaning position in #ife
for a man of his attributes";
A ref#ecti$e #ook crossed the Hueen>s face as she ga&ed into
the eyes of her Prime 1inister" @is #ast remark had set off a
train of thought in someone of rather more intuiti$e fee#ing" (he
rose from her chair, signa##ing for him to remain seated" @e
perched at attention on the edge of his seat, sipping the #ast of
his sherry, whi#e she wandered to #ook out of the window,
where she tossed back the #ast of hers" The si#ence stretched out
bringing the faint sound of dogs barking to their ears"
:)f he wants to become 1r Char#es 4indsor, that>s what he
must become" %o one shou#d be denied the rights of simp#e
citi&enship"; (he sti## faced away staring out across the f#ower
decked gardens" :) think you shou#d proceed as the Prince
instructed, John"; The use of his Christian name gent#ed her
sudden forcefu#ness" :) wi## certain#y speak to him on the matter
and shou#d there be any change of decision, you>## be to#d
before any steps are taken";
%ow she turned back to him bringing a warm smi#e to her
face" :This shou#dn>t be a##owed to disrupt your ho#iday you
know" Just set the whee#s in motion and get away to the sun";
(he crossed back towards him offering her hand, he rose
and took it gent#y, offering his bow" :Thank you 1a>m, )>## try
to do as you say";
:=ou must, we a## need ho#idays, those with hea$y
responsibi#ities far more than others" Te## %orma ) insist she
packs your bags and takes you off";
Chapter Three
:@i 7#adys, how are you<;
:+redF @ow #o$e#y to hear you" )>m missing you" )t>s been
far too #ong";
:) know, for me too, but things are $ery difficu#t" )>m
watched #ike a hawk";
:(o am ), it>s ridicu#ous" There are men with binocu#ars in
the trees around the grounds, it>s mad" )>m sure )>m fo##owed
e$erywhere ) go";
:)n my case they can>t a#ways fo##ow, but they get on my
tai# the moment ) #and" Anyway, ) ca##ed to te## you )>$e done
it";
:4hat, what ha$e you done<;
:)>$e thrown in the towe#, renounced the succession" )t>s a##
set in motion" )>$e to#d the parents, )>$e seen the Prime
1inister" )>m on my way" 7oing to become a free man, a
pri$ate citi&en, or more correct#y a BsubDect>";
:7od Char#es, ha$e you rea##yF<;
:) certain#y ha$e";
:) ne$er thought you>d actua##y do it";
:4e## ) ha$e, Dust as we used to fantasise" )>m going to
become p#ain Char#es 4indsor" )>$e chucked the #ot and, if this
phone is tapped and it>s a## o$er the papers tomorrow, ) won>t
care" )t>s no #onger my prob#em";
:) ne$er thought you>d e$er rea##y do it";
:4e##, ) ha$e";
:4hat did your 1ama say<;
:(he was great actua##y, upset of course, tried to ta#k me out
of it, but $ery understanding" (he>s a rea##y great #ady you
know" Didn>t argue with me or #ose her rag" ) think she saw it
coming";
:And Phi#ip<;
:Ah we##, that was rather different" @e came down here a
coup#e of days back and ga$e me a bit of a hard time" ) didn>t
cry";
:Gf course you didn>t" Are you at @ighgro$e";
:=es, at homeF;
:4hat are you going to do now, not simp#y farm<;
:4hat do you think<;
:4e## ) wish you #uck my dar#ing" Does Diana know<;
:%ot yet" @a$e to te## her sometime";
:Think she>## care<;
:)>m not sure" ) think she used to 3uite fancy becoming
Hueen";
:1aybe now she>## di$orce you";
:) doubt it, not whi#e she doesn>t ha$e to";
:1aybe you can di$orce her, she>s got to be ha$ing it off";
:) ha$e to think of the boys, can>t Dust do what )>d #ike";
:%o, ) suppose not" 4i## she retain her tit#e<;
:That ) don>t know and don>t rea##y care, it>s somebody
e#se>s prob#em" As #ong as ) keep ho#d of @ighgro$e, they can
do what they #ike about e$erything e#se";
:=ou rea##y #o$e that p#ace don>t you<;
:=es ) do, it>s my home, about the best thing to come out of
my marriage, apart from the boys of course" )t>s the perfect si&e
estate for me to manage" ) shou#d ha$e been minor aristocracy
not roya#, that was more my niche in #ife";
:4e>## be ab#e to meet open#y won>t we< Gur re#ationship
won>t pose any constitutiona# threat anymore";
:%o it won>t, but hang on a bit, wait for them to sort it a##
out and announce it" )f it #eaks ) won>t deny it, but )>d rather
the #eak didn>t come from you";
:Don>t worry my #ips are dutifu##y sea#ed" @ow eAciting, )
bet John 1aDor creamed his knickers";
:) think it upset him, but he kept a straight bat";
:7osh +red how eAciting, a new #ife";
:A new #ife indeed, as a commoner";
:) can>t imagine that term e$er app#ying to you my dar#ing,
you>## simp#y become more uni3ue as the BeAEprince>" Common
you ne$er wi## be";
)t took a month for the story to reach the press" The source
of the #eak was ne$er disco$ered, but with three great offices of
(tate in$estigating the processes to be gone through, it was
3uite surprising it stayed under wraps for so #ong"
The #eak was in fact the work of a $ery Dunior c#erk in the
*ord Chance##or>s Gffice" ?ea#ising the story wou#d become
news before too #ong, he decided he might as we## make a 3uick
profit and ac3uire the Porsche a mate of his in the city was
re#uctant#y #etting go cheap to cushion his redundancy from a
s#imming down 1erchant Bank" (o he rang someone he
sometimes drank with on BThe (un> and passed the information
by phone, but cou#d pro$ide no documentary e$idence, being
far too terrified to risk being caught photocopying any of the
papers that passed through his hands" @e got a promise of cash
if the story pro$ed to be true, but sad#y recei$ed it too #ate to
purchase the desired Porsche and had to sett#e for a '4 7o#f
instead"
The reason for The (un>s de#ay in pub#ishing was the
threatened 4hite Paper promised for the neAt session of
Par#iament, to fina##y stif#e the press" 4hi#e #eading artic#es
screaming b#ue murder about press freedom had been appearing
with boring regu#arity for months, outrageous#y intrusi$e
artic#es were being Dudicious#y suppressed in order to
demonstrate what good boys the 4apping whoppers rea##y
were"
The (un>s editor didn>t know what to make of the story at
first, he needed some confirmation" @e tried a po#ite en3uiry of
the no" . press secretary and got a swift f#ea in the ear,
fo##owed by a stiff brush off from the Pa#ace" )t was then he got
the idea to ring @ighgro$e" To his surprise he was po#ite#y to#d
that no one was home and he shou#d try after ten the neAt
morning"
At two minutes past ten ha$ing ner$ous#y scanned The
1irror to make sure he hadn>t been scooped o$ernight, he tried
the @ighgro$e number again" @e was put through to Char#es>
pri$ate secretary, so he asked the simp#e 3uestion, was there any
truth in the rumour that the Prince of 4a#es was going to
renounce the succession< @e was to#d to ho#d on"
)n the time it took him to #ight his tenth cigarette of the
morning he sudden#y heard a fami#iar $oice say" :@u##o, this is
Char#es 4indsor, how can ) he#p you<;
)t took se$era# seconds choking on his cigarette before he
cou#d answer"
) beg your parden your ?oya# @ighnessI so sorry" )I
uhI there>s a story )>$e picked up thatI uhI that you>re
going to renounce the throneI uhI;
:) think you mean my c#aim to the throne,; came back the
c#ear s#ight#y amused $oice"
:That>s rightI uhI (ir" =G8? c#aim to the throne" 1ight
) ask whether there maybeI is any truth in the story< )
wou#dn>t want to print anything that wasn>t correct, you
understand";
:) do understand" )t>s considerate of you to seek
confirmation before pub#ication" =es, the story is 3uite true" )>m
renouncing a## c#aim to the throne in fa$our of my son 4i##iam"
The re3uired #ega# forma#ities are current#y being enacted";
:ChristF ) beg your pardon (irI uhI can ) Dust ask one
further 3uestion, does this mean a speedy di$orce for you and
Princess Diana< The wor#d wou#d #ike to know, you
understand";
:)>m afraid ) don>t know the answer to that one, sorry"
=ou>## ha$e to wait and see what de$e#ops" Thank you for
ca##ing" 7ood morning to you";
The phone went down at the other end" The editor
continued to sit with the recei$er to his ear for a whi#e in da&ed
ama&ement"
BC@A?*)5 C@GPP5D> were the head#ines that hit the
street" )t rea##y was the scoop of the year and the fact that the
Prince had so wi##ing#y admitted it himse#f kept the media
bu&&ing with wi#d specu#ation about the imp#ications, unti# a
(unday Times inter$iew with the Prince three days after the
news first broke" 1urdoch ha$ing wasted no time, spe##ed out
c#ear#y that it was his persona# decision and own desire to gi$e
up not on#y his right to the throne, but a## tit#es and pri$i#eges in
eAchange for becoming p#ain 1r Char#es 4indsor, citi&en and
subDect"
:Diana, he##o, been a whi#e since ) heard from you";
:@ow dare you Char#es, how dare youF< )>m about the #ast
person in the b#oody country to know, do you rea#ise that<
Possib#y in the wor#dF ) actua##y heard it on breakfast te#e$ision"
@ow dare you not te## me before< %ot discuss it with me, for
7od>s sake" )t affects my #ife too you knowF;
:=es, ) know, and )>m sorry you heard it that way";
:(orry are you< Are you sorry< )>m so sorry Diana, but
you>re not going to be Hueen of 5ng#and after a##, you>re going
to be p#ain 1rs Char#es b#oody 4indsor instead" ) do hope you
don>t mind" )>$e decided to become a Buddist monk and spend
the rest of my #ife contemp#ating my na$e#" )>m sure you
understand";
:There>s no reason to be sarcastic Diana, it wasn>t #ike that
at a##" Gn#y my parents and John 1aDor knew about it before it
#eaked" ) cou#dn>t he#p the fact that it #eaked, cou#d )< Anyway )
thought you didn>t care whether you became Hueen of 5ng#and
or not" =ou>$e said so often enough";
:) don>t careF ) don>t want the Dob, but not to be to#d about
your decision, not to beI consu#tedI;
:) did try to te## you" ) tried to make an appointment to see
you with that specific purpose in mind, two weeks ago, but you
were in %ew =ork doing the theatres and the fashion shows" (o
it>s rea##y your own fau#t you weren>t to#d ear#ier" Gnce the
papers had a sniff of it there was no point denying";
:4hat about 4i##s<;
:4hat about him< =ou didn>t eApect me to te## the chi#d,
did you<;
:4hy not< @e>s the poor de$i# who>s going to ha$e to Dump
into your shoes twenty or thirty years before he was meant to";
:Gh come onF Anyway )>m sorry you had to #earn about it
the way you did, it wasn>t supposed to be known for a whi#e
yet";
:=ou to#d Bher> of courseF;
:4hatF;
:Don>t admit it, you don>t ha$e to" ) want you to send for
the rest of your stuff" =ou>$e #eft roomfu#s of it a## o$er the
pa#ace here" ) want it out as 3uick#y as possib#e" ) don>t want
sight, sound or sme## of you hereF;
:)>## send Terry for it in the neAt few days";
:Do that, or )>## ha$e it a## dumped in Censington 7ardens,
for anyone to he#p themse#$es";

The reca## of Par#iament had to happen, but on#y for one day
at the Beginning of (eptember" The P1 managed to fit in #ots
of other business that wou#d ha$e brought him back from the
sun anyway, and he #eft the chamber soon after his opening
statement and *abour>s rep#y, #ea$ing the @ome (ecretary to
conduct the debate"
*abour tried to b#ame the go$ernment for the Prince>s
departure, but fo##owing Char#es> persona# statement the
accusation cou#dn>t rea##y stick" (o the debate became for the
most part a ritua# of 1Ps rising to reaffirm their be#ief in and
#oya#ty to the monarchy and de$otion to the Hueen" (ome
eApressed regret for the Prince>s decision, others their appro$a#"
Gn#y Dennis (kinner managed to en#i$en matters brief#y, when
he asked how much roya# wea#th 1r Char#es 4indsor wou#d be
carrying away with him into pri$ate #ife" @e was to#d that the
eAEPrince was being more than cooperati$e in offering to return
to the nation anything they might ha$e the #east c#aim to,
inc#uding any presents recei$ed by him in his officia# capacity"
@e wou#d be retaining @ighgro$e, with its surrounding farmed
acres as his home, whi#e offering to repay any costs the
Treasury might ascertain were due from the house>s origina#
furbishment"
4hen 3uestioned as to how Char#es wou#d manage to
maintain so eApensi$e an estab#ishment, the @ome (ecretary
to#d the 3uestioner it was not the business of the @ouse to
know, but it was a we##Eknown fact that 1r 4indsor was a
high#y successfu# organic farmer, and shou#d that be his choice
of future career, the 1inister wished him we## in it"
:And what if he goes into po#itics, wi## you wish him we##
then<;
)t was (kinner>s fina# contribution to the debate and it was a
good thirty seconds before the somewhat hysterica# #aughter
subsided enough or the 1inister to rep#y" :) wish him we## in a##
his future endea$ours";
@a$ing spoken brief#y in the debate of his deep regret and
unhappiness at the Prince>s decision, (ir @aro#d Parkhurst, Tory
1P for northEeast Dorset dro$e back to his home in that
constituency in deep depression and went straight to bed, where
he was found by his housekeeper the neAt morning $ery dead"
The medica# $erdict was heart fai#ure" )n its week#y edition
the #oca# 5cho head#ined how the #oya# roya#ist had in truth died
of a broken heart" 4hat the paper fai#ed to re#ate, because it
didn>t know was that (ir @aro#d had, on the same day as the
debate, been asked by *#oyds of *ondon to cough up a 3uarter
of a mi##ion pounds against his current insurance #osses"
4hether that contributed to his sudden demise wi## ne$er be
known, suffice to say *#oyds got their 3uarter of a mi##ion
e$entua##y, to the chagrin of (ir @aro#d>s heirs"
Chapter Four
Gctober arri$ed with temperatures sti## in the mid twenties,
Britain was enDoying a g#orious )ndian summer, or a#ternate#y
suffering a greenhouse heated o&one dep#eted pre#ude to doom
depending on your point of $iew, and perhaps on whether you
suffered from hay fe$er or asthma as e$er increasing numbers
of Britons did"
5urope was now out of recession, but unemp#oyment in
Britain was stuck at we## o$er two mi##ion, and what had once
been hai#ed as the green shoots of reco$ery appeared as but
meas#y p#ants baring meagre fruit, as the fee# good factor
refused to manifest"
(pecu#ation concerning Char#es and Diana>s future was
a#ways in the news"
1ost pundits fe#t that di$orce must fo##ow Char#es>
renunciation of the throne" 4hat possib#e reason cou#d Diana
ha$e to continue in a #o$e#ess marriage, besides di$orce was
now happening to Cami##a, her poor abused spouse was fina##y
asserting himse#f"
Gn the e$ening of the 7
th
Gctober Char#es appeared on T'
with 4ogan" Gther guests inc#uded the comedian Pau# 1erton,
who had Dust pub#ished his first no$e#, a pithy ta#e of seA and
drugs among the cardboard boA dwe##ers of *ondon>s (trand,
and Baroness 1ary 4hitehouse, who had on#y that June been
honoured in the Hueen>s birthday round"
4ogan was sti## p#ain 4ogan, a fact he managed to eAtract
se$era# #aughs out of during the course of the e$ening" Char#es
came on #ast in b#a&er and s#acks, with open shirt co##ar" ?ibbed
by 1erton about the insignia on his top pocket he eAp#ained
with a grin that it mere#y signified time spent in the na$y"
Discussion skirted discreet#y around di$orce and broken
homes, with Char#es unforthcoming, but retaining his humour
and the Baroness pontificating on te#e$ision>s contribution to
mora# dec#ine" Huestioned on the subDect of honours, Char#es
dec#ared his appro$a# of them as recognition of achie$ement,
but eApressed the opinion that hereditary peers shou#d be
e#iminated from the @ouse of *ords and rep#aced by an e#ected
@ouse" 4hen 1erton asked what he thought about retaining the
1onarchy he rep#ied, :To 3uote many others, President
Thatcher<; )t gained him a round of app#ause"
Baroness 4hitehouse raised the 3uestion of continuing high
unemp#oyment and Char#es eApressed the opinion that it wou#d
#ike#y be a continuing feature of competiti$e growth economies"
Before he cou#d eApand on the subDect 1erton asked him if he
had a Dob" @e eAp#ained that apart from being a reasonab#y
successfu# farmer he had recent#y been offered a Dob as a
Dourna#ist" @e wou#d in future be contributing artic#es to the
(unday Times"
The programme ended with enthusiastic app#ause, wo#f
whist#es and a few ma#e ye##s of Bgood o#d Char#ie>F
Circu#ation of the (unday Times #eapt by a mi##ion the
weekend after the 4ogan inter$iew but there was no artic#e by
Char#es to read, that did not appear unti# the fo##owing weekend"
@ad they been hoping to find roya# re$e#ations, the pub#ic were
disappointed" They didn>t e$en get architectura# augst" 4hat
they got was a chat about water"
The artic#e was headed by a smi#ing photograph of Char#es
and the words, B4hat can we do about water<> )t went on, BAre
you ha$ing prob#ems with water< )t was raining cats and dogs
a## winter and spring, yet for most of the summer there>s been a
hose pipe ban" 4e>re to#d there isn>t enough water, that we>re
using too much" There are a#so many peop#e a## o$er the country
who aren>t being supp#ied with any water at a##, because they
can>t afford to pay for it9 they>re ha$ing to cadge buckets of it
from their neighbours" 1y prob#ems with water are in no way
as se$ere as that ) must confess" ) wou#d, howe$er, #ike to make
a suggestion that may ho#d out some future he#p to some
sufferers, perhaps e$en those most depri$ed"
BAt @ighgro$e, my home in 7#oucestershire ) need a #ot of
water" %ot in the house because there aren>t a #ot of peop#e
#i$ing there, and not for the park#and, because ) accept nature>s
decision as to whether the grass is #ush or dry" ) need water for
my gardens, where ) cu#ti$ate both for consumption and
agricu#tura# research" That>s where ) ta#k to my p#ants, which is
more fun than b#owing carbon dioAide o$er them" ) sha##
probab#y write on the subDect of growing things another time,
but right now )>m concerned with water"
BThere>s a stream running through the @ighgro$e estate and
) considered pumping water from that for the gardens" The
?i$ers Authority wou#d ha$e #imited the amount ) cou#d take, as
it #imits the amount the #oca# water company can take, and the
stream is a #ong way from the gardens" (o #aying a pipe and
insta##ing pumping e3uipment wou#d ha$e meant a #ot of
eApense and disruption, especia##y when ) ha$e a $ast supp#y of
water direct#y under the garden" @ighgro$e sits on a water tab#e,
something ) didn>t know when ) ac3uired the house, but
something for which ) am eterna##y gratefu#"
B%ow ) rea#ise that any of you who ha$e to carry buckets of
water up f#ights of a tower b#ock, possib#y in pouring rain, must
be wondering why you are bothering to read this, but p#ease
bear with me" )>m writing this more for you than for peop#e
with #arge estates"
B4hat ) ha$e done is dri## a we## and now, e$en in times of
drought, ) ha$e a## the water ) need and ha$ing paid for the we##
and the pump, ) don>t ha$e to pay another penny for my water"
Gh, ) mustn>t forget the water di$iner who found my water, he
was paid too, but re#ati$e#y #itt#e"
B%ow the water company a#so takes water from my tab#e"
That, in addition to some reser$oirs and the ri$er my stream
runs into make up their water supp#ies" But they cannot charge
me or stop me from drawing off my water, because ) own the
freeho#d of my #and and e$erything under my feet ) consider
mine"
B%ow if a## the peop#e of Britain sti## owned the country>s
water, as they did a few years back, ) wou#d accept ha$ing to
pay something for the water ) take" But )>m not going to pay a
commercia# company that makes #arge profits for shareho#ders
and pays #arge sa#aries to eAecuti$es for my water, and ) fee#
confident the #aw wou#d upho#d my position" ) wou#d be
prepared to spend money finding out"
B@ow about you< )s your house on a water tab#e< Do you
own your freeho#d< )f so, why not dri## a we## and pump it up" )f
it>s too eApensi$e to do on your own, get together with your
neighbours and share the cost and the water rights" This country
is ridd#ed with thousands of o#d fi##ed in and co$ered up we##s,
and not Dust in rura# areas, in towns and cities too" @ow do you
think the peop#e of this wet country got their water for
thousands of years before e$er there were p#umbers< They
didn>t go running down to the nearest ri$er with buckets, un#ess
perhaps they #i$ed on its banks" They had we##sF
B=ou>## need of course to see p#ans of underground
workings" =ou don>t want to dri## through the sewers or into the
Baker#oo *ine" )f #oca# authorities try to inhibit you fight them"
)>## he#p you" ) mean it" )n return for my he#p you can gi$e water
free#y to anyone needing it"
B) catch a## the rain water ) can that fa##s on my property,
and ) draw a## the water ) need from beneath it" )f there>s a
genuine shortage, ) conser$e as any good citi&en shou#d, but
what ) don>t do any #onger is pay someone e#se for my water"
BJust one more thing, 3uite important this" The water you
draw from your we## shou#d be pure enough to drink" )f it isn>t
then it>s probab#y being contaminated by some #oca# industria#
acti$ity" ?eport this to the ?i$ers> Authority" They>re duty
bound under 5uropean #aw to in$estigate, prosecute the
contaminator and c#ean it up" )>## be happy to he#p you get that
done too" 4rite to me care of the (unday Times if you ha$e any
prob#em, and p#ease remember, when you ha$e your own water
be generous with it to those who don>t">

The pub#ic in genera# were disappointed with Char#es>
#iterary effort" 4hi#e water shortage and its esca#ating cost was
an annoyance for some and a tragedy for a few, it wasn>t a
subDect of nationa# interest" They had been hoping for
something meatier" They had wanted the shit to hit the fan" +or
many his writing about @ighgro$e on#y demonstrated his
continua# remo$a# from the common herd" They thought his
demotion to Bone of us> sti## #eft him being Bone of them>"
A few commentators remarked on his new found freedom
to make critica# socia# comment, rather regretting his subt#e
approach, and T' pane# game satirists got a few #aughs at his
eApense" )an @is#op saying that he now knew why he>d gi$en
up the uni$ersa##y fancied Diana, for the not high#y rated
Cami##a, because of water on the brain" )t was a## a bit of an
antiEc#imaA"
The fact was, howe$er, that 3uite a #ot of peop#e acted on
his suggestion, and o$er the period of the neAt decade the we##s
of 5ng#and started opening up again"
The rea# interest surrounding Char#es was of course his two
#adies" 4ou#d Diana fina##y di$orce him, or wou#d he now set
about di$orcing her, as Cami##a wou#d short#y become #ega##y
a$ai#ab#e<
1eanwhi#e there was the $ita# nationa# 3uestion of Diana>s
new status to be sorted out" 4as she sti## Princess of 4a#es< )t
was ear#y %o$ember before an announcement came from the
pa#ace" Diana wou#d retain the tit#e Princess of 4a#es, being
mother to the soon to become Prince, but on#y unti# 4i##iam
shou#d marry, when she wou#d become Prince>s 1other,
Duchess of Censington" @a$ing wrested the maDor part of the
pa#ace from Char#es it on#y seemed appropriate, though some
thought :Duchess of (#oane; wou#d ha$e better suited"
By the end of Gctober the date for the upcoming ByE
e#ection for northEeast Dorset was announced for the -2
th
%o$ember" (pecu#ation as to whether the *ibDems might take
another safe seat from the Torys, adding yet another nai# to John
1aDor>s gradua##y c#osing coffin, were scotched when, on the
day nominations opened, the name Char#es, Phi#ip, Arthur,
7eorge 4indsor appeared among them"
1aDor heard about it Dust two minutes before Prime
1inister>s 3uestion time and comp#ete#y forgot a## his prepared
answers, resu#ting in an unusua##y spark#ing impromptu
performance" Gne sad#y ne$er to be repeated"
Truth to te##, there had been considerab#e anAiety eApressed,
sotto $oce, around 4estminster, that Char#es might be p#anning
a reEentry into pub#ic #ife"
Dennis (kinner>s comment had not been forgotten, but so
swift a reEentry was 3uite a shock, as was the shrewdness of
Char#es> decision" @e had found the perfect constituency" @e
e$en to#d himse#f it must be Bkarma>"
Practica##y the who#e area was farm#and, so the fact that he
wou#d be standing as an )ndependent candidate wou#d make
#itt#e difference" )n the current antiEpo#itician c#imate per$ading
the country it wou#d probab#y pro$e a p#us" Gn#y his now fair#y
acknow#edged abuse of Diana in the BCami##a Affair> stood
between him and a safe seat in Par#iament"
John 1aDor cou#dn>t he#p reca##ing how her 1aDesty, ha$ing
first eApressed surprise on hearing he wished to become a
pri$ate citi&en, had then wa#ked away to #ook out of the
window9 had she guessed his p#ans, rea#ised his intention to take
up the gaunt#et and attempt to pro$e himse#f and did she
perhaps appro$e< 7i$en his pre$ious#y diminished status in the
pub#ic>s eye, perhaps she did"
Any momentary thought of asking Char#es to Doin the Tory
party was instant#y reDected" Paddy Ashdown, who might ha$e
found it difficu#t to refuse Char#es becoming a *ibera#
Democrat was mighti#y p#eased that he didn>t ask" As for
*abour #anguishing in optimistic opposition, northEeast Dorset
was nowhere in their sights" (o the prospect of Char#es in the
@ouse #ooked #ike being great fun, promising Do##y
embarrassing times for the go$ernment"
Char#es was actua##y approached by the 7reens, who
thought he cou#d do wonders for their cause, but he turned them
down with no more eAp#anation than that he preferred to remain
an )ndependent"
@is first pub#ic meeting was schedu#ed for the fo##owing
Tuesday, to be he#d in the church ha## at *itt#e 4interton, in the
heart of the constituency"
A coup#e of days before that his second artic#e appeared in
the (unday Times" )t made no reference to the coming e#ection,
nor did it contain any e#ectioneering hype, it was a## about
app#es"
@eaded B4here are 5ng#and>s app#es<>, it began with a mi#d
eu#ogy of that fruit, going on to point out that we possessed near
a thousand $arieties and dep#oring the fact that our
supermarkets so#d on#y three or four" Gf imported app#es he
remarked that the 7o#den De#icious ceased to be de#icious after
Dust one day in the fruit bow#9 that the 7ranny (mith, if it didn>t
break your teeth on the first bite, wou#d certain#y make your
bruised gums b#eed, and that the ?ed De#icious was far too
#arge, comp#ete#y f#a$our#ess and wou#d deteriorate to a mush if
not eaten straight off the counter"
@e acknow#edged that the need of the supermarkets to order
in 3uantity to some eAtent #imited $ariety, but 3uestioned why
this was becoming the case with street markets and sma##
retai#ers" (ure#y they cou#d supp#y #ots of different #oca#
$arieties, enticing shoppers away from the supermarkets"
@e further 3uestioned whether enough $arieties were sti##
being grown, urging farmers and market gardeners to get their
act together" @e named se$era# obscure $arieties, eAto##ing their
f#a$our and durabi#ity and e$en managed to in$o#$e Adam and
5$e, saying that the offer of a bite of an app#e had far more
potentia# as seA forep#ay, than #icking free&ing ice cream"
+ew of the many who read the artic#e were deep#y
impressed, but the fact was that within fi$e years many different
5ng#ish app#es found their way to market"
As we## as disappointing the maDority of his readers this
artic#e ga$e some reassurance to members of the @ouse of
Commons concerning Char#es> #ike#y future among them" @e
was, they for the most part conc#uded, nutty as a fruit cake, with
weird bees in his bonnet" They need hard#y fear his presence, it
being 3uite #ike#y he wou#d become a sort of green Tony Benn,
whittering on entertaining#y about #ost causes"
*itt#e 4interton>s church ha## was packed with peop#e" The
'icar had roped in his church ushers and they had tried $ery
hard to ensure that the seats inside the ha## were occupied by
#oca#s, as it was 3uite apparent that the wor#d and his wife had
descended on the $i##age" 4hether fire regu#ations were being
strict#y adhered to seemed un#ike#y, though no one appeared to
mind because once the seats were fu## the sides and back of the
ha## became c#ose contact standing room, with e$en sma##
chi#dren astride daddy>s neck"
Gutside were perhaps as many peop#e again and fortunate#y
the ha## caretaker had the foresight to rig up a microphone with
speakers re#ayed to the sma## car park9 that and the c#ement
weather pre$ented any rush on the ha##"
Char#es arri$ed Dust fi$e minutes before the appointed time"
+our men emerged from a maroon Daim#er" Gne was ob$ious#y
security, #eaping from the car the moment it came to a standsti##
performing a swift, efficient BCe$in Costner> among the crowd,
whi#e Char#es and his agent were getting out"
4ith a coup#e of po#icemen adding their presence to the
scene, the 'icar, who had been ho$ering in the car park for a
good ha#fEhour, shook the eAEprince>s hand and was introduced
to the agent" Then the three of them headed for a door at the
back of the ha##, to emerge a coup#e of minutes #ater onto the
sma## p#atform stage before the audience"
+or those interested, Char#es was wearing a rag#an Burberry
raincoat" ?emo$ed, it re$ea#ed a comfortab#e chunky round
neck sweater" A pais#ey cra$at was Dust $isib#e inside the open
necked shirt" Tan trousers of ca$a#ry twi## ending in shiny #ight
brown Che#sea boots comp#eted the ensemb#e"
There were three chairs set side by side on the p#atform
with a bridge tab#e bearing g#asses and a carafe of water"
?emo$ing his raincoat Char#es tossed it o$er the back of the
centre chair9 then ho$ered, smoothing his hair back, smi#ing out
at the #ighted audience, nodding in acknow#edgement as they
began to app#aud"
The 'icar came immediate#y to the microphone, whi#e the
agent p#onked himse#f down on one of the chairs" @e was
dressed in a dark suit with a not easi#y recognisab#e c#ub tie"
The 'icar>s unc#ear words boomed the mike, bringing
hands to ears" @e apo#ogised with the eAp#anation that he was
not used to it, ha$ing ne$er re3uired one, e$en as a Canon of
4e##>s Cathedra#" @is moment of persona# P? o$er, he
immediate#y introduced Char#es, saying how honoured and
p#eased he was to do so" @e shou#d ha$e introduced the agent,
as became apparent by that gent#eman raising his bum a few
inches from his seat, on#y to return it there as Char#es mo$ed to
the microphone"
:7ood e$ening #adies and gent#emen, is that a#right for
#e$e#<; )t was of course perfect as ha#f the audience assured
him" Gne cou#d hear a cheer go up outside in the car park"
Char#es> smi#e was fast becoming a grin" Cameras started to
whirr sound#ess#y and f#ashes to f#ash"
:Thank you a## for coming, as an aspiring po#itician )>m
gratefu#" ) don>t doubt you a## take my presence here serious#y,
e$en as ) take my candidature" Gur country is in troub#e and we
must a##, in whate$er way we fee# ab#e, come to its rescue";
@e paused there and got a round of app#ause"
:)>d #ike to introduce my agent for this campaign, @enry
JamesF;
@enry now rose from his seat and ho$ered, his head
nodding as some sma## app#ause came his way"
:@enry wi## be managing my campaign from his
head3uarters in the Cing>s @ead @ote# in (haftesbury" @e>s got
a briefcase fu## of s#ips of paper, with campaign information and
he>## happi#y dispense it to anyone #ater";
@enry sat down again to a further sma## round" A sing#e
$oice ye##ing BChaaar#ie> in broad Dorset tones was heard from
outside"
:4e##,; said Char#es, :) hope that>s a $oteF; )t was his first
#augh of the e$ening"
:=ou must a## wonder what )>m doing here"; @e spoke
without notes" :)f ) say it isn>t for fame or fortune ) hope you>##
be#ie$e me"; Another #augh, s#ow growing one this time, which
he cut off after a few seconds" :=ou need to know what )
represent, what ) stand for" Apart perhaps from my opinions on
architecture and my ob$ious preference for organic agricu#ture,
there isn>t much any of you know of my $iews of the wor#d, or
my po#itica# $iews" As a roya# ) was prohibited from eApressing
them" 4e##F; @e took a pause and ga&ed around the audience"
:)>m not any #ongerF;
+irm app#ause was fo##owed by a cheer from outside"
:As an eAEmember of the estab#ishment you might eApect
me to be a natura# Tory, we## )>## te## you now )>m not" %either
am ) a *ibera# Democrat or a *abour supporter" ) am a bit of a
7reen, but not enough to Doin that party, ) therefore stand as an
)ndependent" @a$ing spent my entire adu#t #ife being gagged by
go$ernment, ) am not now going to Doin a po#itica# party, on#y to
be gagged by it, or whipped into shape" )>m not that enthusiastic
a fan of pub#ic schoo#ing";
Another #aughF
:) ha$e to stand as an )ndependent, howe$er weak that
makes my position in Par#iament, because ) don>t intend to be
gagged anymore";
The cheer started outside the bui#ding and spread to the
inside" )t was a good minute before he cou#d resume speaking
and he was #aughing when he said"
:@o#d on, you don>t know what ) stand for yet, you may not
#ike my po#icies";
)t took a #itt#e time for e$eryone to 3uieten"
:+irst#y, as regards this constituency, it>s main#y rura#,
#arge#y agricu#tura#, so ) hope most of us start out on the same
side" But ) wou#dn>t pay you to set aside, if ) cou#d change that
and make a## #and producti$e and why not" ) wou#d rather he#p
farmers produce hea#thy food than need to pay for doctors9 so )
wou#d certain#y encourage the organic, seeking he#p to di$ersify
your produce, unti# you ha$e found your markets" %ot subsidies
for e$er, but he#p in times of misfortune" Agricu#ture isn>t #ike
industry, you cannot eAact#y measure the si&e of the autumn
har$est, when you sow in spring" Agricu#ture wi## a#ways be
specia# case economica##y, #ike water" 4ater, food and she#ter
shou#d be the right of e$ery citi&en, and incidenta##y we shou#d
become citi&ens and cease to be subDects" A Bi## of ?ights in
other words shou#d soon become #aw, and ) sha## campaign for
it at e$ery opportunity";
+irm app#ause, some whist#es from the ha## and cheers from
outside"
:) see another ro#e for farming too, in education" ) see
Bache#or and 1asters> degrees being earned by students
studying on farms, e$en as nurses earn their degrees on hospita#
wards" +arming shou#d be at the heart of our country>s cu#ture
as we## as its prosperity" ) won>t en#arge on that further this
e$ening, Dust add that ) am we## aware, that there is industry
here too, among the green fie#ds, and that gi$en the opportunity,
) wi## endea$our to become a good constituency 1P" =our
representati$e, not any po#itica# party>s9 ho#ding regu#ar
surgeries, with an ear for your indi$idua# prob#ems" Don>t be
re#uctant to bring them to me";
@e retired to the tab#e and pouring water into a g#ass took a
drink, before returning to the front of the stage"
:) do be#ie$e Britain shou#d be part of 5urope, ) am no
B#itt#e 5ng#ander>, and ) offer no support for those of you who
wish to opt out of 5urope" 4e need peace, and 5urope brings us
that, and we need open markets and ha$e freedom to tra$e#" 4e
can certain#y prosper in 5urope" )t presents no threat to us" After
four hundred years of union the (cots are sti## the (cots, the
4e#sh sti## the 4e#sh" %o one can take away our 5ng#ishness,
it>s geographica##y insti##ed, ine$itab#y inherited by a## who
come to dwe## here, e$en 7ermans";
@e got a somewhat de#ayed #augh"
:1y economic po#icy thoughts for Britain cannot be easi#y
summarised on an occasion #ike this" The fore$er eApansion of
economic growth must e$entua##y become unsustainab#e in a
finite wor#d" Gther ways wi## ha$e to be found for the p#anet to
support humanity, and the ad$ances of science offer a## sorts of
possibi#ities, that need eAp#oring" 4e wi## ha$e to find new
ways to sustain our domestic security and retain our dignity,
and, in case you think that ) ha$e not eAperienced indignity, you
shou#d try being a castrated Prince for a whi#e"; @e cut off any
app#ause and #aughter" :(erious#y, many Dobs we do today wi##
not be there in the future, we wi## ha$e to change our $iew of
wea#thF 1ore about that another time"
)>m not going rubbish the po#icies of my opponents in this
e#ection" =ou know what they stand for" Their po#icies ha$e
been #aid dai#y before you on radio and T'" ) wi## on#y say this,
none of them wi## work any better in the future than they ha$e
in the past" BTime for a change> may be a bit of a c#ichJ, but if it
isn>t the time now then when wi## it e$er be<
:) think )>d #ike to proceed with 3uestions if that>s a#right";
@e went to the tab#e, poured water and drank" The 'icar
took it upon himse#f to pick the 3uestioners"
An o#d #ady in the front row asked gent#y, :4ou#d you
increaseI; she was interrupted by a youthfu# $oice near the
back"
:4hen you getting your di$orce<;
@is smi#e had faded, but it returned 3uick#y enough with, :)
can>t te## you that because ) don>t know the answer" =es
madam<; To the #ady in the front row" :4hat was it that you
wanted to ask<;
:4ou#d you increase the o#d age pension p#ease (ir<;
:Gh yes"; @e #ooked out towards the audience" :The #ady
asked wou#d ) increase the o#d age pension, my answer is yes, if
) gained the position to, and gi$en the chance, ) wou#d do far
more" ) wou#d he#p to create, without any #oss of benefits,
opportunities to increase the incomes of a## senior citi&ens who
fe#t ab#e and happy to make a contribution to this country>s
we#fare";
:4hat about the 1aastricht Treaty<; A ma#e $oice ca##ed
from the centre of the ha##"
:4hat about the 1aastricht Treaty<; Char#es asked back"
:Do you appro$e of it<;
:=es, it was a necessary step towards the integration of
5urope";
:4hat about the sing#e currency<;
:=es, )>m for a sing#e currency too, the sooner the better";
:=ou>d gi$e away your mum>s so$ereignty wou#d you<;
:) don>t rea##y think of it as being persona##y hers" 4e can>t
integrate into 5urope without #osing some so$ereignty" A sing#e
market begs a sing#e currency, that>s my opinion, for what it>s
worth";
:4ou#d you reform the monarchy<;
A titter of #aughter we##ed around the room"
:=es ) wou#d reform the monarchy, and ) know the reforms
it needs, but ) wou#dn>t get rid of it for two reasons" The first is
BPresident Thatcher>, sorry if that offends any of you" Think
about it" The second is more subt#e" @er 1aDesty ne$er gi$es the
pub#ic her opinions, but she has them and she does gi$e them to
her ministers as part of her Dob" 4hi#e these opinions can
neither increase nor decrease her wea#th or power, they do ha$e
the possibi#ity of some wisdom" (hou#d fascism or some other
dark power attempt to take o$er this country, then her 1aDesty
cou#d speak out to the peop#e and they wou#d hear her and know
what to do" (he takes her Dob $ery serious#y, as )>m sure you a##
recognise" 1y becoming a commoner is in no sense intended to
undermine the monarchy" 4ith Dudicious pruning it can b#oom
$igorous#y, for the benefit of us a##";
:4hat about the @ouse of *ords<;
:)>d certain#y reform it, with an a## e#ected @ouse"
Democracy demands it";
:4ou#d you #ike to do some socia#ist wea#th
redistribution<;
:%o not with taAation" ?edistribution of industria# support
yes, away from guns and tanks to waste con$ersion units, and
wind turbines"
:1y wish is to broaden education to the ac3uisition of
ski##s" *earning 5ng#ish is commendab#e and $ery necessary,
but a do#e 3ueue spouting (hakespeare is sti## a do#e 3ueue"
:) wou#d use modern techno#ogy to transform domestic
dwe##ings, e#iminating easi#y fifty per cent of energy costs" 4ith
ski##s education, gi$en the current progress of #ight industry and
organic horticu#ture, ordinary peop#e shou#d be ab#e to #i$e in
comfort and e$en re#ati$e #uAury without the need for $ast
eApenditure" This is not the nineteenth century, it is a#most the
twentyEfirst" 4e don>t ha$e to go back to star$ing in s3ua#or,
we can #i$e in we## fed comfort without ha$ing to rip off the rest
of the wor#d to do it";
:*et me ask you a 3uestion 1adam,; to the #ady pensioner
in the front row" :)f ) didn>t increase your pension, but ) cut the
cost of power to your home and your food by ha#f, wou#d ) ha$e
done we## by you<;
:=es of course (ir";
:Thank you" 7i$e me the chance and )>## try to do that";
Char#es went on the stump" @e knew what was eApected of
him" @e>d seen it time and again on te#e$ision and he performed
eAact#y as any other hopefu# candidate wou#d" The difference
perhaps being the we#come he recei$ed a#most e$erywhere and
the mass of media, both 5uropean and American, that fo##owed
him around"
Asked for comment on his emergence onto the po#itica#
scene John 1aDor and other party #eaders acknow#edged, that in
a free country he was we#come to try his #uck" %ot that they
showed any appro$a# of his po#icies, Dust pies in the sky was
how Paddy Ashdown described them"
*eader co#umns and T' chatter genera##y encouraged him,
not necessari#y because they thought his presence in the @ouse
wou#d be of any great benefit to the country" They were simp#y
re#ie$ed he was not going to hide away at @ighgro$e and try to
opt out of the roya# soap opera" The BChas and Di> story was
worth mi##ions in mi#es of newsprint and hours of $iewing, no
one in the media wanted it to end, and Char#es in Par#iament
#ooked #ike#y to open up a who#e new chapter"
@is co#umn in The (unday Times continued sporadica##y"
(ti## with a socia# rather than a direct#y po#itica# content" Gne
essay was entit#ed BThe #itter on our streets> and was a## about
the motor car" @e proposed a means to get rid of mi##ions of
them, without any dri$er #osing out"
)t was a## down to the AA and the ?AC" @e thought they
shou#d get together and buy cars to re#ease onto the streets for
the use of their members" A## $ehic#es wou#d be automatic and
e#ectronica##y e3uipped to register user identity, mi#eage, fue#
needs, damage and breakdown" Access being by membership
card"
These cars wou#d not be kept in garages for dri$ers to
co##ect, but rather sit in parking bays on the streets where they
were #ast dri$en" (hou#d a dri$er wish to retain use of a $ehic#e,
a Bho#d> cou#d be p#aced on it for as #ong as re3uired9
breakdown wou#d automatica##y trigger rep#acement, a#so
accidents" )nsurance wou#d become part of membership as
wou#d repairs and maintenance" )ndi$idua# membership rates
wou#d ref#ect the age, re#iabi#ity and genera# worthiness of
members" @e fantasised of members bragging how cheap their
membership was, and others bragging of how eApensi$e"
Patro#men wou#d not on#y monitor the condition of cars on
the street, they wou#d a#so be re3uired to know where cars were,
in order to point members to their nearest a$ai#ab#e $ehic#e, and
if necessary transport them there"
Char#es acknow#edged it wou#d take time for the system to
reach a fu##y acceptab#e performance #e$e#, but he be#ie$ed that
many peop#e wou#d happi#y gi$e up the unhappy
responsibi#ities of car ownership" As for those wishing to keep
their motors, no one was taking them away, and they might
e$en get back some tiny taste of an Bopen road>"
?eaction to the artic#e was muted, sa$e for the motor
manufacturers, who saw their precious ego symbo#s #osing their
potency and the prospect of $ast#y reduced sa#es" They ca##ed
the idea barmy, hair brained and impractica#" The AA, howe$er,
did a feasibi#ity study and rea#i&ing the potentia# for business
eApansion within $ery few years, the scheme was up and
running in a## our maDor cities"