Poor Charlie. He went and put his foot in it and now the whole world and his wife are breathing down his neck.
In case you haven't caught the news this is what happened.
Charles and Camilla were paying a visit to the Canadian Immigration Museum in Halifax and Charles got chatting to Marianne Ferguson, a volunteer at said museum. Marianne told the Prince how she fled from Poland to Canada in 1939 and how her family had perished in the Nazi concentration camps. Charles' response? "And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler". Or something along those lines. I say something along those lines because there are several versions of the words he apparently spoke depending upon which newspaper you read.
So basically here was a man making personal remarks during the course of a private conversation, remarks which, by the way, Ferguson felt were "very heartfelt and honest", and before you know it the Daily Mail has printed its "exclusive" story and an international uproar has ensued.
Initially Putin didn't say very much - probably too busy thinking about the next country he could annexe. No, wait, sorry. My mistake. He was helping to release tigers back into the wild. (Putin unleashing wild animals. Oh the metaphors that could be drawn!) The Kremlin reacted on animal lover Putin's behalf: "Unacceptable outrageous and low" they vented furiously. Well that's a coincidence. Those were the first three adjectives that sprung to my mind as Russian forces began to take control of the Crimean peninsula.
I'm certainly no history buff nor do I claim to be well-versed in all things political but I can't help but wonder: were Charles' comments so very far off the mark? In 1938 German troops marched into Austria with the aim of consolidating all "Germanic" people into one nation. Putin absorbed Crimea into Russia because of its large population of Pro Russian citizens. Surely there is a comparison to be drawn? Is Charles not simply saying out loud that which many other people are thinking?
I suppose the real issue here is not so much what Charles said but whether the Prince, in his capacity as a member of the royal family and heir to the throne should be airing personal views of a political nature. There is, after all, an expectation that the Monarchy remain neutral when it comes to political affairs. I, for one, do not share this expectation and find myself agreeing with Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. In an interview with BBC Breakfast he stated: "I have never been of the view that if you are a member of the Royal family somehow you have to enter into some sort of Trappist vow of silence. I think he is entitled to his views."
We are ALL entitled to our own views. We should be able to express our thoughts and feelings without fear of recrimination. But we can't. Because freedom of speech is a fallacy. It doesn't exist. In this politically-correct- gone-mad-era we have to watch what we say, how we say it and who we say it to. Long gone are the days of "sticks and stones" and how easily we find ourselves offended, insulted, aggrieved and affronted.
Charles and Camilla have since returned to the UK and insist they will cherish the memories of their four-day visit to Canada. For the most part.
Ginger Warrior, over and out.
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