The Prince of Wales: retreats and yachts

Posted by HC in Books / Sanctuary on 13 November 2008

I am back in my hill-top cell, and very much enjoying the increasing loneliness. I read and write a lot and am aware of the luxury of my circumstances. Oddly, amongst bigger differences, my life has one or two similarities to the way the Prince of Wales lives.

Nothing has been touched or improved in this room for decades. Nothing has been added or taken away. There is the bare minimum of furniture and nothing on the walls. John Pawson would be proud of me.

I do watch satellite television: I had one installed in the communal sitting room of the retreat. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the documentary on the Prince of Wales the other night on UK TV. 

He is a wonderful and infuriating man. The royals have that extraordinary attention to detail. When the prince pinned a medal on a soldier’s chest, the details of the citation were clear in the royal mind. When he spoke to the soldier, it was as a father, a commander, an awe-struck fan – and almost as a priest. Charles was the state personified. And one realises that such moments are repeated day in day out.

Charles also embodies a perfect oddity in the human spirit. He could charter a large and rather vulgar yacht for a royal visit to the Caribbean and seem no more or less out of place on it than he did discussing the classically rustic hermitage to which he daily retreats when he is at home in Highgrove.

He and I could not be more different, of course. But we share a taste in boats and cells. 


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