A few months ago I realised that the King of the United Kingdom was having another affair. The story of his first affair with Camilla Parker Bowles is well known. The King loved one woman, then married another. It took several decades for him to work this problem out, when, for most people, a visit to a solicitor, a court fee and six months of wrangling might have solved the issue.
Yet King Charles, even stacked alongside the other Windsors, really is not most people. He’s been called a dabbler and a meddler, a decent watercolourist and an expert plantsman. He’s compared himself to a tampon, and been likened to Arjuna, the mythic hero of the Bhagavad Gita. His attempts to publicise the benefits of eating mutton were less blockbuster than his televised admission, in 1994, of adultery. No figure in British public life has been as mocked, pilloried and abused as Charles. “Not all the water in the rough rude sea/Can wash the balm from an anointed king,” Shakespeare has Richard II claim. Well, with Charles, the rough sea tried. And tried.