Let me take a moment out of your busy day to try and persuade you to sympathise with an unpopular cause. We could call it "Freedom Under Charles, King" until I can decide on a suitable acronym.
Firstly I should let you into a secret. Prince Charles and I were born within 48 hours and 20 miles of each other and have both celebrated a significant birthday this week. I've kept an eye on him throughout my life for regular comparisons from my first recollections of his presence on the savings stamps my Scottish Grannie used to post down for my birthdays. One of us should be (but isn't) retiring this week and the other is still hanging around waiting to actually start a proper day job.
Now I have to admit that I'm fighting an uphill battle trying to evince sympathy for Chazza as the conventional wisdom could be summarised as follows:
1. He's a fruitcake who talks to his plants and has an equerry to squeeze his toothpaste for him.
2. He married the most perfect fairytale princess in the World but kept up his relationship with a woman who looked like a horse.
3. He'll never come up to the fabulous unflinching Royal Duty that his wonderful Mother has shown over the last 66 years.
Well, I think he's just a fairly ordinary chap who's life has been sent down extraordinary paths. Since his investiture in 1969 he's been groomed and prepared for a job that didn't materialise and that's bound to cause ridiculous levels of pressure on the psyche. We've all (come on, admit it!) been in jobs where we've had to pretend to be busy when there wasn't enough work to be done, but Charles has spent his whole life doing only that under the spotlight of intense media scrutiny. He is criticised for objecting to modern architecture and criticised when he builds a toy-town film set in the West Country. Criticised when he lives off the State and criticised when he tries to turn an honest bob flogging biscuits at 12 quid a tin. The poor chap cannot win.
I feel quite sorry for Prince Charles and rather hope that his miserable old mum sees sense and toddles off to take a few Viking River Cruises as a retiree and gives her firstborn a crack at proper monarchy. It's the least he deserves.
Here's a few uncanny comparisons on two parallel lives which have turned out so differently: