King Charles III will be a ruler like no other. In an interview with ET’s Rachel Smith, Christopher Andersen, the author of The King, explains why Charles will be “one of the most eccentric sovereigns Great Britain has ever had.”
“He still travels with a childhood teddy bear,” Andersen claims. “… He’s had it since he was a very small child… The only person who’s been allowed to mend King Charles’ teddy bear is his childhood nanny, Mabel Anderson, who he remains very close to.”
Andersen also alleges that Charles “travels with a custom-made toilet seat.” Additionally, though Andersen claims Charles has denied it, “people who work in the palace, people who have worked for him, say that… when he goes to dinner parties at other people’s homes he often brings his own chef, so they can prepare a meal for him that he’ll eat separately at the table.”
“He wants what he wants when he wants it,” Andersen explains.
“I think one of the funniest quirks — a number of royals have this, the queen had it as well — they don’t like square ice cubes,” Andersen claims. “They carry around ice cube trays, have them brought with them wherever they go, because they don’t like the clinking sound that square cubes make.”
On top of all of Charles’ eccentricities, Andersen alleges that the newly minted monarch is “very moody, very temperamental.”
“He has a volcanic temper, in fact,” Andersen claims. “… He’s very capable of flying into rages.”
Charles’ demeanour today, Andersen says, is due in large part to his upbringing with his parents, the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
“So much about Charles you could really trace back to his childhood, which was heartbreakingly lonely,” Andersen claims. “… Charles has described his relationship with his mother [by saying] that she was cold and aloof, that his father was a bully who hectored him, who made him cry in front of other people, physically bullied him.”
“I think it’s very telling that Charles only spent as a boy… two 15-minute periods a day [with his parents],” he claims. “… When he had a tonsillectomy, 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 appendectomy at the age of 13, neither his mother or his father visited him in the hospital.”
Later, Charles was sent off to a Scottish boarding school, an experience he has described as “pure hell.”
“What he went through is really quite alarming. As a boy, as a young man, he was routinely beaten by older students, hung up naked in a shower and sprayed with cold water and left there. He was pummelled and wrestled to the ground,” Andersen claims. “He wrote these pleading letters to his parents to please take him out of the school… By today’s standards, it would be akin to hazing or child abuse frankly, and yet his parents turned a blind eye to it. I think that caused a tremendous resentment.”
Eventually, in 1981, Charles married Princess Diana. The couple had two children, Prince William and Prince Harry, before their divorce in 1996. Diana died the next year.
“Most people would be surprised how emotional he became when he learned about Diana’s death. They had started to mend the relationship to some degree. They finally, after years of warring famously in the newspapers… had reached a sort of a truce,” Andersen says. “When… he got the news over the phone that Diana had died, he let out this wail that was described by one of his servants as a howl of anguish… This was the mother of his children, so on that level he appreciated it.”
When it came time for Diana’s funeral, Charles had William and Harry walk behind their mother’s coffin, something Andersen believes Charles feels “tremendous guilt” about.
“Both William and Harry have spoken relatively recently about the degree to which they still suffer. It’s really a case of PTSD. They still suffer flashbacks,” Andersen says. “… Charles and Philip actually talked the boys into walking behind the casket, something both William and Harry have said that no child should ever be asked to do… Harry says that flying into London really is a triggering event for him. Every time he comes back to England, he thinks of that day, walking behind his mother’s casket.”
It wasn’t until 2005 that Charles was allowed to marry Camilla Parker Bowles, now Queen Consort, who’s known to be “the love of his life.” Still, Charles was aware that “he and Camilla could be portrayed as the villains” following Diana’s death.
“I think the biggest task facing Charles right now is selling Camilla to the British people,” Andersen says. “… Now there’s even talk of him getting rid of the consort aspect, so she will be Queen Camilla… Selling the British people on this is one thing, [but] it’s quite another to watch that crown being placed on her head next to Charles when they have the coronation in May. That’s gonna turn a lot of people off.”
Because of all he’s been through, Andersen says that Charles has “seen himself as what the British call a whinger, [which is] a victim, a complainer.”
“He always cast himself as the victim and Camilla’s role has always been to tamp that down,” Andersen says.
Now in his new role, Andersen expects Charles to make “some bold moves.”
“He’s been waiting for 70 years to take this job. That’s longer than any previous monarch,” Andersen explains. “… He’s already taken some moves to slim down the monarchy a bit… He just sold 15 of his mother’s cherished race horses… There will be other cutbacks. They will be looking and touring some of the palaces and museums.”
“I think one of the most interesting moves that Charles actually proposed years ago is taking some of the better-known royals off the royal payroll,” he adds. “For example, he suggested at one point that Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugene, Andrew and Fergie’s children, become ladies, that they be asked to relinquish their titles as princesses.”
When it comes down to it, Andersen says, “If the monarchy survives and flourishes, it will be because of Charles. If it doesn’t, it will be because of Charles. Everything hinges on what King Charles III becomes.”
Christopher Andersen’s The King will be released Nov. 8. Tune in to Tuesday’s episode of Entertainment Tonight for more of ET’s interview with Andersen.
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