As a republican the banality of Royal Family-based newspaper chatter has always been particularly annoying, especially around future king-turned environmental campaigner Charles Windsor. What has become the only saving grace of these stories in recent days has been the media slowly becoming more and more hostile toward Charles for one prominent characteristic of his character: the fact that he’s a serial hypocrite.
Throughout the years Charles has been championing many environmental causes, presumably because with a job for life waiting for him he can afford to spend his days walking around the countryside. Why am I so dismissive of a fellow environmental campaigner who talks the most important ecological problems facing the country? Because he isn’t an environmental campaigner, he’s been using this part of his ‘personality’ as a way of staying in the headlines and garnering a somewhat positive public image, which has been especially needed since Diana’s death, in order to prevent us proles from rising up.
The specific cases of hypocrisy that I allude to have been consistent throughout his environmental campaigning but has recently re-emerged as various newspapers reported in the last few days that Charles delivered a speech about the need to tackle climate change whilst urging the public to reduce their carbon footprint. This would seem perfectly acceptable if he wasn’t then flown from Gloucestershire to Windsor in a helicopter that had to travel from RAF Odiham in Hampshire to pick it up; that was a round trip for the helicopter of 128 miles before Charles got out into a Jaguar for a short ride to go and watch a polo match.
If we temporarily ignore the fact that at a time of austerity someone who will eventually become head of state without any form of democratic legitimacy is occupying his days by flying around between country houses and polo matches, the idea that we are to reduce our carbon footprint, which I’m not disagreeing with, whilst he does not is angering.
This is not the only time he has been accused of hypocrisy. In 2013 Charles invited criticism from the Save Truro campaign group, who campaign to protect the picturesque countryside of Cornwall from intensive development, for agreeing with the group’s aims whilst simultaneously supporting a supermarket and housing development on land in the Tregurra Valley, east of Truro, owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.
More proof of Charles’ lack of concern for the environment was revealed in 2014 when he was photographed during a pheasant hunt, despite repeatedly railing against animal cruelty. I’m not expert on animal cruelty but I would argue that shooting a small fury animal for no other reason than your personal enjoyment seems…cruel. The impact of this is also two fold as groups like the Countryside Alliance who point out that many ducks and geese die as a result of lead poisoning from the shotgun cartridges; Charles reputation as an advocate for rural communities and the environment don’t seem to stand up to scrutiny.
However the main thing that I am interested by is that monarchists are beginning to complain about this hypocrisy as well. But the thing is, monarchists have no right to complain about Charles’ actions; they, because they accept the monarchy as legitimate, have been complicit in allowing politicians over the years to exempt the monarchy from Freedom of Information requests and to let members of the Royal Family to lobby the government behind closed doors.
When it comes to Charles’ activities a common request amongst monarchists is that many would wish that the succession would skip Charles and go straight to William, therefore any questions about Charles’ inappropriate actions would be evaded. This always make me laugh as monarchists will extol the virtues of monarchic government but as soon as someone comes along that they don’t like, they don’t seem so keen on it.
All I can say is that although we were spared the extended rule of people like Edward VIII, who was a well documented Nazi -sympathiser, the accession of Charles will unfortunately be make or break for the republican movement in Britain; if we are to see a republic in our lifetime I fear that it will not take root when William is on the throne. We’re going to have to go all in and hope that resentment against Charles is enough to demand an end to royalty in our country.