The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Tome On The Range

Matters Of The Utmost Concern: Prince Charles Letters
David Stubbs , December 12th, 2011 05:57

Following the recent publication of his compiled Prince Charles Letters, David Stubbs assembles a number of the Prince Of Wales' letters on "matters of the utmost concern"...

Add your comment »

Johnny Rotten
Virgin Records
London
UK
May 17, 1977

Dear Mr Rotten,

Senior palace officials advised me not to make contact with you this way, but I have done so nonetheless so I hope I can appeal to what I believe to be the vestige of decency you have in you and keep this correspondence between ourselves. I think if the Royals are to modernise we must not be "aloof" but keep "channels of communication" open between oneself and "street fighting toughs" like yourself.

I realise you're an "angry young man". I get angry myself sometimes, so I know exactly how you feel. But I understand you plan to release your punk disc "God Save The Queen" to coincide with my Mother's Jubilee celebrations.

Regretfully, in a democracy, I cannot ask you to suppress your free speech. Might I, then, suggest that instead of attacking my Mother on this, her most special occasion, that I place myself in her stead? Write a punk song about me instead, if you really must get things off your chest. I can take the brickbats.

It might run as follows;

"God bless the Prince
Let's make him into mince
He's got stupid stick-out ears
Gets his kicks shooting deers."

If that last line does not work, my brother, Prince Andrew, whom I took into my confidence, suggested "His friends are all queers". I think he is going through a "punk rock" phase himself. That is a revolting slander, and it appalls me to think that this is the sort of thing my brother obviously thinks you might write but if that is what it takes to "seal the deal" I will fall on that particular sword. But how could you be thought to think such a thing?

Yours in secret,

HRH Prince Charles



The Village People
New York
USA
May 6, 1979


I wrote to you before, you may remember, following the success of your hit disc 'Y.M.C.A.' I remember saying to you that while discotheque was, and still isn't, my sort of thing, you clearly had a knack of combining exhortation with entertainment which almost "certainly" accounted for your huge success among young people. I advised you, you'll remember, to target your songwriting skills on the armed services, who are always short of new recruits, and I was immensely gratified that you took up my suggestion on your "follow-up" song "In The Navy", which was as much of a success as its predecessor.

I hope you don't mind my scratching my chin a bit doubtfully, but if I might venture a criticism, it is that the accompanying promotional film to your song may have given a misapprehension of "life at sea" for the fresh cadet. For a start, when piped aboard, you are not greeted by men in hardhats, police caps or Red Indian head-dresses. There is no unsupervised semaphore disco dancing on deck. Rather, one must first undergo early morning drill from a gunnery instructor, acquaint oneself with the rudiments of Morse Code and learn how to navigate Picket boats into pontoons. None of this features in your film and it is, I regret to say, the poorer for it. An opportunity missed – but we can move forward together and learn from our mistakes.

Yours, man to man,

HRH Prince Charles



Adam Ant
c/o CBS Records
London
England
September 17, 1981

Dear Mr Ant,

It's been hard to avoid your song, "Prince Charming", which currently sits at Number One in the hit parade. I regret to say that whenever my brothers Edward or Andrew see me in the corridor, they strike up with a low, jeering chant of "Prince Charlie, Prince Charlie", based on the tune to your disc. I suppose they think it is funny.

May I correct you, however, on one specific point? In your lyrics, you say, "Ridicule, ridicule is nothing to be scared of." I can assure you, from my experiences at Gordonstoun, that it very much is. Any chance you could amend the offending words before next week's edition of "Top Of The Pops"?

Yours constructively,

HRH Prince Charles



"Prince"
Paisley Park Studios
Minneapolis
United States Of America
April 4, 1987

Dear "Prince",

As you are no doubt aware, 1987 marks the 35th anniversary of my mother's accession to the British throne. To mark the occasion, I struck on the idea of a pop concert to take place at Buckingham Palace – but a pop concert with a difference. My wheeze was to give the thing a royal "theme", as reflected in the selection of artists.

And so, with the help of one of my staff (and no help, I should add, from my wife, who mistrusts my instincts in these matters – I'll show her!) I came up with a shortlist. It comprises;

Prince (Yourself)
Princess (the singer of "Say I'm Your Number One", by the songwriting firm of Stock, Aitken and Waterman)
Queen
King (you know their disc "Love And Pride", I take it?)

What I thought was that we arrange the sequence of turns according to Royal hierarchy. However, my staff have already "put out feelers" to Princess, whose people have expressed misgivings about her appearing bottom of the bill. Apparently, it's considered "demeaning" in showbiz "circles". So, I wondered if you would open instead? My Governess taught me that a little gentleman should always acceded to a lady's wishes (not that I'm saying you are little).

So what I thought is that you could kick things off with a half-hour set commencing about 8.15 pm British time, followed by Princess, with Queen taking the stage penultimately and, finally, and fittingly, King topping the bill.

If this sounds amenable, do please have your people contact mine. No fee – all monies to The Prince's Trust – but lashings of tea and unlimited Battenberg cake.

Yours,

HRH (The actual) Prince Charles



Liam Gallagher
Oasis
Manchester
England
August 16, 1996

Dear Mr Gallagher,

Actually, even as I write, I'm not quite sure if you're the Gallagher brother I wish to be addressing. I would check with a member of my staff, but they're already too hard pressed with other important work to be distracted by frivolities like this. If you are the wrong brother, I'm sure you'll get wind during the course of this letter and be good enough to pass it onto the brother I am clearly talking to. One hesitates to talk of monkeys and organ grinders, but, well, you know my meaning.

I'd like to extend my warmest felicitations on your fine compositions - "Wonderwall" and the one with "Champagne" in the title. I don't suppose you necessarily relish the Royal seal of approval – as a dedicated punk rocker, you'd probably spit in my face or something! - which is why I'm corresponding to you from a safe distance!

The reason I congratulate you is this. It has in the past, been the complaint of many a father and, indeed, husband, on being made to sit through Top Of The Pops that, firstly, what they play isn't music, it's just noise, and secondly, that you can't tell who the girls and who the boys are. My father, Prince Philip, made the same complaint when looking in on Anne and I watching the same programme in the 1960s and I found myself repeating the same complaint in the 1980s. However, here we are in the 1990s. I watch you and I can tell it's just good, old-fashioned music, like the good old days. And, I can very much tell who are the boys and who are the girls. You're all boys.

This, I feel is progress. You should be proud of yourselves. Keep it up!

Yours, pleasingly unconfusedly,

HRH Prince Charles



Lady Gaga
c/o "Universal" Records
Los Angeles
California
United States of America
November 11, 2009

Dear Lady Gaga,

First off, one thing I must ascertain at once – you are indeed a lady, aren't you? I don't mean of noble breeding – I'm with-it enough to understand that in your case the "Lady" thing is a conceit, and that you are not truly laying claim to being one of the Hampshire Gagas. I mean, an actual, physical lady. One cannot be too careful, I find, in this day and age, and feel it's best to make discreet preliminary enquiries.

If you are not a lady, then I trust that, as a gentleman, you will not reveal that this correspondence ever took place. If you are, then do write back as I have a proposition to put to you concerning one of our Outward Bound events. You'll agree that all of us, whether lady or gentleman, could do with more fresh air in their lungs.

Yours faithfully,

HRH Prince Charles



Lady Gaga
c/o "Universal" Records
Los Angeles
California
United States of America
December 1, 2009

Dear Lady Gaga,

I received a return of correspondence from one of your people which in its tone was implicitly sceptical about my bona fides. In view of this, I must declare all future correspondence between us to be closed. I am not accustomed to being accused of being a "hoaxer".

You see, unlike yourself, I am what I purport to be. I am a Prince. I see what you are doing by calling yourself "Lady". But you forget that some of us have long memories. We remember, for example, Ray Alan and Lord Charles, the ventriloquist double-act. So you see, you may think you are doing something "shocking" and "original" by subversively affecting to be a member of the nobility for entertainment purposes but it is nothing new. The aristocracy may be in decline but it survived Lord Charles and it will survive your onslaught also.

Yours,

His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince Of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, QSO, PC, ADC, Earl Of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay. Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland

Bob Geldof
35-38 Portman Square,
London
England
June 30, 2010

Dear Mr Geldof,

I'm not writing to you in your capacity as a "pop star" but then, I suppose, few if any do nowadays. Rather, I was thinking, with it being the 25th anniversary of Live Aid, I watched once more the Wembley Stadium extravaganza you and your pop star friends put on. I must say it was dashed embarrassing – was that really my haircut back then? – but my heart went out to those poor Ethiopians once more and it pains me that despite your efforts there are still food shortages in the Third World.

I've spoken to you before about the vital role allotments could play in Africa – to each family a strip of land on which they could grow marrows, runner beans or local produce. However, the drawback is clear – a lack of watering cans. Well, hang it all, let's let them know it's "Christmas" Time again and do something about it! Let's have a national campaign to donate unwanted watering cans to Africa. I'll set the thing in train – I've a can that's seen better days. Bit rusty and leaky but usable. I'm prepared to donate it to the fighting fund. I enclose said can – if you could pass it to the relevant African agency and get the publicity going for more of the same, I'd be most grateful. Doing me a favour, really, it's cluttering up my shed.

Yours, because people are dying,

HRH Prince Charles

PS I see that your middle name is Zenon. You kept that quiet from your "punk rocker" friends, didn't you?



To: Chris Martin
"Cold Play"
EMI Records
London
England
August 10, 2010

I was dozing off in front of the television set last night when your band, Cold Play, appeared on my screen. Two things struck me; first, and I hope you take this is a compliment, it is quite rare to see a young man quite as tall as yourself making "it" in the music business. They talk, metaphorically, about artists who stand "head and shoulders" above the rest; in your case, however, it is literal. Secondly, in describing yourself as "cold" you do yourself an injustice, for I would place your music several degrees above that. There were certain of your songs I would describe as, really, quite lukewarm.

I was especially struck by one of your songs in particular. Excuse me if I paraphrase, but the gist of it went something like "so concerned . . . so concerned . . . about the environment . . . yeah, yeah, baby . . . concerned." That, at least, seemed to be the sentiment. Looking you up further, I note that you have been criticised for espousing "Green" issues while swanning about the world in a private plane. In this respect, we have a tremendous amount in common.

Hang it all, what do people expect of us? They do not understand that in order for me to retain my international, Royal prestige, for my words to carry more weight, I cannot be seen to be going about by train and ferry like a commoner. As for you, in order to retain your platform, you have a "swinging image" as a "jet rocker" to maintain, so as to impress the youth. You, I believe, are very much like me. You are trying to find a way in which we can radically change things, without actually changing anything. It is a delicate balancing act; like "lukewarm water" indeed!

Cordially yours,

HRH The Prince Of Wales



"Eminem"
Slim Shady Records
Detroit
United States Of America
January 6, 2011

I note that I have been the inadvertent cause of a "brouhaha". I must accept full responsibility; I have reprimanded the member of staff to whom I dictated the essay, in which I happened to mention you in passing. It was their typographical error but I should have given it the final "once over".

So, to clarify; I meant to say that "Eminem is one of the most notorious rap-ists in the United States". This, of course, is the correct term. I apologise again that it was misprinted the first time around. I do not, and never did, consider you, to be a racist.

Appreciatively yours,

HRH The Prince Of Wales



Lou Reed
The Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame
Cleveland
United States Of America
November 18, 2011

Dear Mr Reed,

Actually, I'm assuming you are a "Mr" - the name "Lou" is ambivalent but I have studied a picture of you hard and am pretty sure I'm on solid ground with this one. If not, my most profuse apologies. I don't have your address but expect these people know who you are and how to get you. I had my staff play me one of your songs; "I'm Waiting For You, My Man", I believe it was called. I can quite "relate" to that, as my manservant is not always as quick up the stairs as I would like, when I ring for him to iron my shoelaces.

I am most concerned at some of the reviews, or "notices" for your latest musical project, a collaboration with the rock group Metallica. It seems to have been given the raspberry in no small measure! "Worst record of his career", "Worst record ever made", "Worst thing of any kind ever conceived in history of the universe" seem to have been some of the kinder comments!

May I make a suggestion? That the next time you undertake a project like this, you employ a "safer set of hands" as collaborators? I'm thinking of the group Status Quo. Over the years, whenever I'm obliged to attend a major pop concert, there they seem to be, and, somehow or other, I've developed an affection of sorts for them. Anyway, they seem like "good blokes", or "blokes" at any rate, and I think if you were to collaborate, I could see my way to putting in a word for you with whoever puts together the bill for the Royal Variety Show.

Respectfully yours,

HRH The Prince Of Wales



"The Manic Preachers"
Columbia Records
London
England
November 30, 2011

I have been frantically trying to get hold of you for some time. As you know, you are from Wales; this makes me, of course, your Prince and in that spirit I hope you'll acquiesce to what is by way of a "Royal Decree"!

I am very taken indeed by your song "Repeat After Me", containing as it does the lyric "For Queen And Country". One hears so little of this sentiment in this country; rock & rollers generally think it cool to be of a Republican bent, forgetting, of course, that this alternative would leave us with the scenario of a President Prescott.

Anyway, if you were to re-release this song in "single" disc format, I would be happy to endorse a campaign for it to be this year's Christmas Number 1.

Expectantly yours,

HRH The Prince Of Wales

You can purchase The Prince Charles Letters: A Future Monarch's Correspondence On Matters Of The Utmost Concern here

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.


Dec 12, 2011 12:22pm

really un funny.

Reply to this Admin

TonyBadgers
Dec 12, 2011 12:33pm

Lame-ass stuff.

Reply to this Admin


Dec 12, 2011 12:53pm

I'd expect to see something like this in the Evening Standard ....really mediocre, not relevant or satirical or even ironically challenging.

Reply to this Admin

Bingbong
Dec 12, 2011 6:09pm

Well, Merry Christmas to you too! I have to say I really disagree with the comments below, this is such a funny book and brilliantly observed.

Reply to this Admin


Dec 13, 2011 9:51am

Aha, the author's mum/girlfriend/sister I presume?

Reply to this Admin

Paul G
Dec 13, 2011 10:32am

Ok, I put my hands up, you got me! I was truly expecting an authentic article about a real piece of satire and only fully realised I'd been had when I finished reading the whole piece of vapid nonsense. Shouldn't you be playing this sort of childish prank on April Fool's day or something? Jeeze!! Time to swing on over to Pitchfork again.

Reply to this Admin

Bingbong
Dec 14, 2011 7:57pm

In reply to :

No, no... just someone who doesn't share your opinion, that's all.

Reply to this Admin