The author of a controversial biography which claims the Prince of Wales’s household is riddled with in-fighting has defended her book following accusations that she exaggerated the amount of access she had to the Prince.
The latest instalment of Charles: The Heart of a King, by Time magazine journalist Catherine Mayer, claims the Queen is afraid her son’s activism could redefine the monarchy in a way the public will not tolerate.
“In defining his role as heir apparent, the prince has signalled a redefinition of the monarchy,” Ms Mayer writes in the book, serialised in The Times (£). “Some courtiers – and the sovereign herself – fear that neither the Crown nor its subjects will tolerate the shock of the new.”
Here are the key claims from the biography so far:
1. While Charles is dubbed “The Boss” by staff, the book says, he is insecure and identifies with Baldrick, the downtrodden servant in Blackadder.
2. Staff at Clarence House know him as the “Prince of Wails” for his temper and pessimistic outlook.
3. He is hampered by existential angst about the future. “Far from itching to assume the crown, he is already feeling its weight and worrying about its impact on the job he has been doing,” Catherine Mayer has written.
4. He is driven to get involved in national affairs because of the “guilty” privilege of his birth.
5. He dreads the idea of the death of his parents and suffers at times from “profound despondency”.
6. He still grieves for the Queen Mother, his grandmother, and his great-uncle, Earl Mountbatten, murdered by the IRA.
7. Clarence House officials call the wealthy guests that donate to his causes “Bond villains”.
8. He is driven by frugality and wraps up leftovers from meals and has them served to him the next time he eats.
9. One of his burning ambitions is to overhaul the honours system to make it more egalitarian and modern.
10. He has a profound ability to imitate others and is likened to the comedian “Rory Bremner”, according to Mayer.