Prince Charles: The Man Who Would Be King
By Carol Crenna
Prince Charles’ enlightened approach to saving the planet
I had the opportunity to meet HRH Prince Charles when he was in Vancouver. He had just finished meeting with physicians at Vancouver’s InspireHealth, an integrated cancer clinic.
Although Canadians seldom hear more about the Prince of Wales than his personal life, there is another story to be told, one that constantly influences the world’s progress. And this is the story that his official biographer and friend, David Lorimer wants known.
I was able to speak to Prince Charles briefly, but I wasn’t able to interview him, so I spoke at length with David Lorimer, who is based in Scotland, to understand the Prince and his message.
He said that Prince Charles is an independent thinker with passionate commitment towards organic agriculture, developing communities in underprivileged countries, complementary medicine, and even raising the consciousness of humanity.
That’s a tall order, but since he has a personal relationship with most of the world’s leaders, he’s in a position to do it. And in an age when leaders have forgotten how to lead, his example is inspiring.
Here is PART 1 of our interview:
CAROL: Why is your book about Prince Charles (which is not available in Canada or the US) called Radical Prince?
DAVID LORIMER: It refers to the literal meaning of radical, which means “going back to grassroots thinking.” The Prince of Wales insists that we have to rediscover our roots in traditional living in order to have a sense of meaning and direction.
He identifies the root cause of many of our problems as our values, which then show up in our attitudes about the environment, agriculture and health.
He “radically” feels that a change of thinking must happen. He says we must deal with the cause through action, rather than tinkering with symptoms, and the best way to demonstrate this is through his own example. The core theme is a need for harmony between head and heart, action and contemplation.
CAROL: Can you tell me this in his words?
DAVID LORIMER: He says, “We need to restore the balance between heartfelt reason of instinctive wisdom and the rational insights of scientific analysis. Neither is much use on its own. Only by employing both aspects of our nature will we live up to the sacred trust that has been placed in us by our creator or ‘Sustainer’ as ancient wisdom refers to It.”
This has been attacked by many as “a return to superstition and ignorance.”
CAROL: Prince Charles is often criticized for his views. Why?
DAVID LORIMER: I feel that it is because his views are in direct contradiction to the prevailing materialistic world view, and to the views of all other leaders in developed nations. He has a more spiritual agenda which has been mistakenly described as “looking backward,” stifling progress.
He is saying that we shouldn’t throw out the best values and principals of the past, which are timeless. His deep sense of connectedness with nature and its sacredness, which he’s had since he was a child, influence these views.
CAROL: Why do you say his type of leadership is one of the arguments for keeping the Monarchy?
DAVID LORIMER: Being of the Monarchy is a vocation whereas presidency is an achievement. Since he was born into the position he doesn’t have the same self-serving ambition to achieve recognition.
Since he can’t be fired, he feels that he can simply go about doing what he feels is right regardless of attack or criticism.
CAROL: Could you explain?
DAVID LORIMER: As a wealthy Prince, he could simply mind his own business and not be concerned with the world. Yet he is very aware that since he was given this position of incredible power by birthright, he has the capacity of accomplishing great things that others can’t.
He feels a clear, strong obligation and duty. Nobility creates an obligation. Our culture has a tendency to reduce and criticize others’ motivations for good, however, which is very corrosive.
As Plato and Solomon articulated, kings were, at one time, wise sages. Though he is the member of the Royal Family who receives the most flack, he is the only one that has launched 16 progressive charities of his own and is a very active patron of over 270 other non-profit organizations.
CAROL: What are they?
DAVID LORIMER: These are found within his Prince’s Charities, which work in 38 countries and form the largest charitable enterprise in the UK, raising $200 million each year, and The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, one of the largest independent foundations in the UK.
CAROL: What does he focus his work on?
DAVID LORIMER: He currently focuses on “the built environment,” responsible business and enterprise, young people and education, and global sustainability.
Within this, sales of his famous Duchy Originals and Highgrove Products are donated to charities in Britain in addition to helping underdeveloped countries that make them.
If people took an interest, they would be amazed at what he has accomplished.
The Queen is someone who never expresses her opinions publicly about anything, which is one of the great differences between the two, and some supporters fear that when he becomes king he will also no longer be able to promote his opinions.
CAROL: What non-profits has he launched?
DAVID LORIMER: He has worked tirelessly with the Prince’s Trust that gives unemployed 16- to 25-year-olds opportunities to fulfill their potential. It enables them to develop their skills and launch very creative and financially viable businesses without any of the usual bureaucracy that would hold them back.
Over 58,000 young people have been supported, creating over 45,000 new businesses! Of those, the top 50 businesses they launched turn over 148 million pounds and employ 2,255 people. Over 8,000 people currently volunteer as their business mentors.
And he has many other charities including his Business in the Community schemes in which he helps to regenerate rural and urban communities, making them thrive in their own right.
CAROL: What are his agricultural initiatives?
DAVID LORIMER: He founded Duchy Originals organic products to raise funds for his charities and aid organic producers, and it is now a leading organic brand with over 50 product lines, making over £35 million last year.
Suppliers are not only sourced in the UK. He works with Third World governments to redevelop land no longer farmed to use for organic production.
In Guyana, he spoke to the President and now has redeveloped their long lost cocoa crop, worked by a cooperative of farmers and their families, and he buys all of the cocoa beans they can produce, and at fair market value.
He has done the same with organic sugar in Guyana, creating a sustainable, dignified lifestyle for workers. He is also extending Duchy Original work to India, helping farmers on plantations there to grow spices and other ingredients he needs.
CAROL: Why does he do this?
DAVID LORIMER: He says that all of his life he has been driven to “heal the festering wounds of the land” produced by what he believes is distorted thinking.
He says he wants us “to heal the landscape, to heal the soil, to work in harmony with nature once again, to build in a way that respects the sacredness of the land, as a living, growing tradition, not a dead thing.”
CAROL: What else has he stated about this?
DAVID LORIMER: He also said, “Believing ourselves to be separate from the Earth means having no idea how we fit into the natural cycle of life and no understanding of the processes that we are affecting.
We are then attempting to chart the course of civilization by reference to ourselves alone. If we don’t change, our children will inherit a wasteland. Our species used to flourish within the intricate and interdependent web of life, but we have chosen to leave the garden.”
CAROL: Why does he feel this has happened, and we can’t seem to fix the situation?
DAVID LORIMER: He says that too many so-called solutions to environmental problems miss their mark because they don’t recognize the nature of the societies which put them into effect. Unless there is real critical analysis of all components of each role – roles of men, women and children – the proposals will be unworkable.
CAROL: Can you give an example?
DAVID LORIMER: In India, working with the government, he helped enable people to have tenure over the land they were working, with secure access to water, which has not only transformed their lives, but has also given them incentive to rehabilitate their environment.
He says that this simple formula of meeting basic needs, empowering communities and safeguarding the environment not only works, it’s where the solution to everything else starts.
Human spirit must first be unshackled, with international conventions on human rights, for environmental protection and development to happen.
I WILL GIVE YOU PART 2 OF THE INTERVIEW NEXT WEEK.