King Charles III will be a ruler like no other. In an interview with ET’s Rachel Smith, Christopher Andersen, author of The King, explains why Charles will be “one of the most eccentric rulers Britain has ever had.”
“He still travels with his childhood teddy bear”Andersen claims. “He’s had it since he was a very young child. The only person who was allowed to fix King Charles’ teddy bear was his childhood nanny Mabel Anderson, with whom he remains very close.”
Andersen also claims that Charles “travels with a custom-made toilet bowl.” Also, although Andersen claims that Charles denied it, “people who work in the palace, people who worked for him, say that when he goes to dinner parties in other people’s homes, he often brings his own cook so that they can they prepare food for him, which he will eat separately at the table”.
“I think one of the funniest quirks – a number of royals have this, the Queen has had it – she doesn’t like square ice cubes”Andersen claims. “They carry ice cube trays with them, they carry them with them wherever they go because they don’t like the ringing sound that the square cubes make.” Apart from all of Charles’ quirks, Andersen claims the newly hatched monarch is “very capricious”.
“Actually, he has a hot temper”Andersen claims. “He is very capable of flying into a rage quickly.”
According to Andersen, Charles’ behavior today is largely due to the upbringing he received from his parents, the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
“When he had an operation on his tonsils, when he had a very bad case of the flu, when he fell down the stairs and broke his ankle, when he had an emergency appendix operation at the age of 13, neither his mother nor his father visited him in the hospital,” Andersen continues.
Charles was later sent to a Scottish boarding school, an experience he described as “pure hell”.
“What he went through is really quite disturbing. As a boy, as a young man, he was regularly beaten by older students, sprayed with cold water. He was pushed and knocked to the ground.”Andersen claims. “He was writing letters begging his parents to take him out of school… By today’s standards that would amount to bullying or outright child abuse, and yet his parents turned a blind eye to it. I think it caused a huge amount of resentment. “
Eventually, in 1981, Charles married Princess Diana. Before divorcing in 1996, the couple had two children, Prince William and Prince Harry. Diana died the following year.
“Most people would be surprised at how emotional he became when he learned of Diana’s death. They had begun to mend their relationship somewhat. Finally, after years of famous newspaper wars … they had reached something of a truce.”says Andersen. “When … he got the news over the phone that Diana had died, he let out this wail that one of his servants described as a cry of anguish … It was the mother of his children, so he appreciated it.”
When it came time for Diana’s funeral, Charles had William and Harry walk behind their mother’s coffin, something Andersen said Charles felt “tremendous guilt about”.
“Both William and Harry have spoken relatively recently about the extent to which they are still suffering. It really is a case of PTSD. They are still suffering.”says Andersen. “Charles and Philip actually convinced the boys to walk behind the coffin – something that both William and Harry said no child should be asked to do. Harry says the flight to London is a real turning point for him. Every time , when he returns to England, he thinks of that day when he walked behind his mother’s coffin.”
It was not until 2005 that Charles was given permission to marry Camilla Parker Bowles, now Queen Consort, who is known to be the “love of his life”. However, Charles was aware that “he and Camilla could be portrayed as villains” after Diana’s death.
“I think the biggest task for Charles at the moment is to introduce Camilla to the British people,” says Andersen. “Now there’s even talk of him getting rid of the consort aspect, so she’ll be Queen Camilla… Convincing the British people of that is one thing, but watching the crown sit on her head is quite another. to Charles when the coronation takes place in May. That will put a lot of people off.”
Because of everything he’s been through, Andersen says, Charles “perceived himself as what the British call a winger, which is a victim”.
“He’s always portrayed himself as a victim, and Camilla’s role has always been to suppress that.”says Andersen.
Now, in his new role, Andersen expects Charles to make “some bold moves.”
“He has waited 70 years to take this job. That’s longer than any other previous monarch.”, explains Andersen. “He has already taken some steps to reduce the monarchy a bit… He sold 15 of his mother’s expensive racehorses… There will be other cuts. They will explore and tour some of the palaces and museums.”
“I think one of the more interesting moves that Charles actually proposed years ago was to take some of the more famous royals out of the royal pay.”, he adds. “For example, at one point he suggested that if Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, Andrew and Fergie’s children, became ladies, they should be asked to give up their princess titles.”
When it comes down to it, Andersen says: “If the monarchy survives and thrives, it will be because of Charles. If it fails, it will be because of Charles. It all depends on what kind of king Charles III becomes.”