Why we should leave Prince Charles alone
OPINION: I feel sorry for Prince Charles. If you are over 40 and a Princess Di fan, that may come as a surprise. If you are watching this season of The Crown, I imagine you're even more shocked.
In the new Netflix series, our future head of state comes across as spoilt and a tad tempestuous. He also appears very much in love. Unfortunately, it wasn't with his wife.
The show makes for some tough viewing. It delves into the early days of Charles and Diana's romance, if it can be called that; it's been well documented the couple only met 13 times before walking down the aisle. Diana is depicted as an animal led to the slaughter. Only 21 at the time of her 1981 marriage, she was unprepared for her new role as doting wife and future queen, and the royal family didn't seem to do much to help.
We know Charles as a doting father and grandfather, an environmental campaigner and workhorse for the royals. That includes long visits to Australia. I have met Prince Charles on various trips here and he has always been as the story books suggest, charming. While I was happy to attend these functions, I know others in the media who turned down the invite because of what he 'did' to Diana.
But if The Crown is to be believed, it's not just Diana we should feel for. The Prince and Princess of Wales were both victims of a stiff-upper-lip tradition that has now made multiple generations of the same family miserable. Charles was forced to marry a woman he barely knew while his true love remained off limits.
You can understand why the royals are reportedly irate at how the future king is portrayed in The Crown. Friends have labelled the series as 'trolling on a Hollywood budget' and condemned the fictionalised portrayal of the Charles and Di relationship and the marriage's third-wheel, Camilla.
Of course, we will never know what went on behind closed palace doors. Was Charles really in tears on the wedding eve? Did he resent the attention Diana got? Did she encourage it? The producers can only fill in the gaps, and we can only wonder what the royals really think. We know they have watched past series of the Crown but I suspect the Buckingham Palace movie projector won't be rolled out for this one.
Instead, Charles and Camilla are getting on with it. They toured Germany this week in a case of Keep Calm and Carry On. It's hardly been a fairytale but it's nice to see they've ended up happily ever after, after all.
Originally published as Why we should leave Prince Charles alone