Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on the Tube & Charles's Boarding School Hell

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have been very busy with an array of engagements, most notably their trip on the tube to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the London tube.

British Monarchy Flickr

The royal couple caught the Metropolitan line at Farrington Station to King's Cross (with many Harry Potter 'Platform 9 3/4 jokes following from reporters on the scene :))

Paul Harrison Twitter

It is the first time Charles has been on the tube in over 33 years, the last time he ended up driving the train. The prince swiped his very own oyster card at the station.

Paul Harrison Twitter

The royals rode on a brand new, air-conditioned train which Camilla described as 'very nice, very smart'. It's not everyday the royals take the tube, it was a fun visit and Charles and Camilla appeared to thoroughly enjoy it.

British Monarchy Flickr

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A series of letters from the Queen Mother supporting Prince Charles's opinion that being sent to school in Gordonstoun, Scotland was a terribly poor decision have come to light. Charles has described the boarding school in Moray as "a prison sentence", "like colditz with kilts" and was incredibly unhappy at the school.

Wikipedia

The Queen Mother wrote to the Queen in 1960, when Charles was 12:

"I suppose he will be taking his entrance exam for Eton soon. I do hope he passes because it might be the ideal school for one of his character and temperament. All your friends' sons are at Eton, and it is so important to be able to grow up with people you will be with in later life. And so nice and important when boys are growing up that you and Philip can see him during school days and keep in touch with what is happening. He would be terribly cut off and lonely in the north."

Unfortunately, the Queen and Prince Philip elected not to take the advice given. Prince Philip was in charge of family affairs and having considered Gordonstoun the home he never had, the decision was made. As a child Charles was sensitive and this decision proved to be extraordinarily difficult for the young prince. His contemporary, best-selling novelist William Boyd, said it was like "penal servitude" and Charles "utterly detested it." Another contemporary. the late Daily Mail correspondent Ross Benson, recalled "he was bullied, he was crushingly lonely for most of his time there. The wonder is that he survived with his sanity intact."

More from the Daily Mail story:

"Upon arrival he found himself cold-shouldered by fellow pupils in the house, Windmill Lodge, because the housemaster had warned any antagonistic behaviour towards the heir to the throne would result in immediate expulsion. As a result, recalled a fellow housemate, he was picked upon at once 'maliciously, cruelly and without respite."

A distraught Charles wrote to his mother, "I hardly get any sleep in the house because I snore and I get hit on the head all the time. It's absolute hell." Charles was viciously mocked over his ears and despite his desperate pleas his parents refused to intervene. The Queen Mother was proved right but she never knew of her grandson's anguish at Groundstoun.

Daily Mail

One couldn't help but feel enormous sympathy for Charles upon learning of this. It certainly goes to prove the life of a royal is not always a lucky one.

24 comments:

  1. Jean from Lancs.2 February 2013 04:14

    The Queen and the Duke appointed a committee to decide on his later education-- I remember Prime Minister Wilson and Lord Mountbatten were members with many others. The only person who appeared not to be consulted was Charles himself.
    The big surprise is that he has turned out as well as he has done.

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  2. It is remarkable Charles has 'turned out' so well given his childhood but I often wonder how happy he is now...Yes, he and Camilla seem to enjoy life but I think his reign will be very short (As HM is unlikely to abdicate and enjoys good health)so does he wonder what his life has all been about??

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  3. Sarah from Calif.2 February 2013 08:17

    Charlotte, do you know how many years Charles was at Groundstoun?
    That made me very sad. It must have been hard on someone with a sensitive nature.
    kind of like Harry Potter living with the Dursleys.

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    1. Hello Sarah,

      It is horribly sad, for any child to be bullied, despite their background, it is such an isolating and upsetting experience. I would imagine he was there for a few years, no doubt it must have felt like a lifetime for him. Then as he got older the press have been terribly unkind towards him and very much against him.

      I think, whatever many people think of him, he must have incredible strength of character.

      Delete
    2. Sarah from Calif.2 February 2013 08:51

      Hello again, also dispite all the drama of his life he has 2 wonderful boys and a beautiful daughter in law, all of which he clearly loves and of course a baby on the way!

      Delete
  4. Jean from Lancs.2 February 2013 09:27

    Gordonstoun is a Public school so he would have been there from 13 to 18---however he had a couple of terms out of that at, I think, Geelong Grammar School in Australia, which he is reported as saying he loved.

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  5. So what was the purpose of the article in Daily Mail? It is so obvious the article was ordered by Palace. No doubt about that. It is all done so that we now think: "Oh poor Charles, he was bullied just like any other children" It has a purpose to inspire the sympathy. The photos of him and Camilla on a train are again with the same goal: to show him as normal, "one of us" person. I noticed that in recent time Charles appears in circumstances to show him as normal guy. Remember his appearing on TV talking about weather forecast, and his joke which was probably done by scenario. It is all done to prepare people to his future role so that people will accept him as a King. When articles like that appear in paper there is someone who wanted it to appear. Why letters of Queen Mother emerged now?

    The Queen knows that she has not much time, and she has to pass her duties to Charles. The palace also knows people's opinion on Charles. To improve his image they order articles and will incourage him to public appearances like on the train, etc (make sure photographes were taken and published all over UK). It is all marketing and promotion.
    Also last words in Daily Mail article: "...character and nature of our future King". This is a trick which is used quite often (people will read the article and those are the last words they will remember). Psychological trick.

    Yours, Emily

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    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more. I also believe any article suggesting that Camilla does NOT want to be Queen is part of the same PR. William and Kate's popularity will be an ongoing concern.

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    2. I couldn't agree more. I also believe any article suggesting that Camilla does NOT want to be Queen is part of the same PR. William and Kate's popularity will be an ongoing concern.

      Delete
    3. Jean from Lancs.3 February 2013 13:18

      Actually the journey on the train was marking the 150th anniversary of the opening of the London Underground and is the kind of engagement the members of the Royal Family do day in and day out--they're often not reported in the newspapers. The Prince of Wales carries out about 500 engagements each year and has done for the last 40years.
      I am not fond of the "Daily Mail", but I am pretty sure they do not take their orders from either Buckingham Palace or St. James' Palace.

      Delete
    4. Sarah from Calif.3 February 2013 16:53

      Jean, I guess out of the 500 engagements Charles makes a year, there is still always going to be someone not happy. I certainly don't hear about our president that much....I watch the news everyday. Got to run the gang is hungry :)

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    5. Where the information came from about 500 engagements? I hope you don't truly believe it? 500 enagements mean 9 per week. So you suggest Charles has two engagements each day? Well, if you call dinners and lunches an engagements so be it.
      Any appearance of royal person in public would be photographed, either by official press or paparazzi. Have you seen Charles 500 times per year in a paper? Me not. I'm not that naive to believe everything the Palace said. They have to say about hard work of royals, otherwise the public will go berserk. (They might say any random number, why not to say 600 or 1000, who will count? You?)

      Yours, Emily

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  6. Being bullied at any time must be horrific but I can imagine it being so much worse at boarding school :( I wonder if that played a part in Charles & Diana's decision to send their boys to Eton instead. A wise choice no doubt.
    Louise, Bath, UK

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  7. The problem is, being a royal prince or princess is a job and like any job, hard work is part of it, but there is a certain something that lifts some members of the royal family in popularity above others. Diana had it in spades and Kate is doing extremely well. She doesn't have quite the instinctive warmth of Diana, but she responds extremely well to people. (There is a picture of an elderly woman reaching out to Kate on one of the walkabouts. Kate's smiling happily but Diana would have been hugging her. That's why she was so loved, regardless of her faults.) The Princess Royal works very hard but always treats being a princess like a professional job, which makes her much respected but not loved. Charles doesn't have quite the instinct with people and in choosing Camilla, he chose somebody who doesn't have it either. Picture after picture and videos show her responding awkwardly to people and situations. She's never really developed a persona of her own, she went from being a Diana wanna-be in pastels, to a Queen Mum wanna be in feathers, and she doesn't have the cachet of either of them. My belief is she'll be accepted out of inertia but never loved or even admired greatly. Charles popularity is linked to his wife, when he put the ring on Camilla's finger, he doomed himself to a more minor role as a royal. Fortunately, William chose wisely, and the ultimate success of the family will lie with him and Catherine and whoever Harry chooses as a wife.

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    Replies
    1. What a good and thorough comment.

      Delete
  8. Kate, Texas, USA3 February 2013 19:06

    How very, very sad. What is more sad is that I am sure Prince Phillip probably feels no remorse for allowing his son to be subjected to that. I think of my children and how I would never allow them to be in a situation like that. So much sadness....for Charles and what he had to endure, that the words of the Queen Mother were ignored, that she was completely unaware of his sadness, that the Queen and Prince Phillip did nothing about it. Louise, I would think it definitely had a part in both William and Harry attending Eton. I know Diana's father and brother were Etonians, but again I feel more went into the decision of sending the boys to Eton....Charles' school experience.

    Why in the world has Charles not been on the tube in 33 years? I know they were celebrating 150 years, but seems to me he would hop on a tube every now and then with his future subjects. We all know he will one day be king. I just wonder what his reign will be like and what the public opinion will be? With the knowledge of his past, Diana's endearing public, and William and Catherine's popularity, seems to me it might not be as pleasant as the Palace hopes. Thoughts?

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  9. It must have been terribly difficult to have a childhood and adolescence like Charles had. How sad. And with such strict parents...
    His role as the perennial heir to the throne (at the age of 65!) is a little awkward and must be a difficult situation, too. I think he, as a king, will be a brief interlude between two strong monarchs: his mother and his son. :)
    But I'm glad he finally seems to be in a different stage of his life, with Camilla by his side - in spite of everything related to Diana, of course.
    Z.

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  10. Z.
    Why do you think William will be a "strong monarch".?

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  11. Hi Charlotte!
    Now that Baby Cambridge is almost arriving, why not writing a post about the european royal children? :) Just a little suggestion, during this Duchess Kate dry spell (at least until March 5th).
    There are lots of cute Crown Princes and Princesses' little sons and daughters! :) Some of my favourites are the four children of Mary of Denmark, the two little girls of Spain, Sofia and Leonor, not to mention Swedish little heiress, Estelle.
    Hugs from Portugal!
    Z.

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  12. Sarah from Calif.21 February 2013 16:44

    Hi Charlotte you are busy with life :) I am reading about Georgiana I saw the movie with Kiera Knightly a few years ago. Wow the Spencer's really do have a part in the aristocracy of England. (Churchill included)

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    1. Sarah from Calif.22 February 2013 19:22

      Hi Z,
      I thought that was funny, it was (all quiet on the western front) thats an old cowboy saying. and then we both post the same day.
      Have a lovely weekend :)

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  13. When are you going to post a new post on this site? I am really enjoying them and its been too long since you last have....

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    Replies
    1. Hello Emily,

      I will post very soon, It's been crazy busy and I'm afraid this blog has been terribly neglected but I will be back to regular posting shortly!

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