During his latest visit to Scotland, the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles, presented the weather in a special weather forecast at BBC Scotland.
The presentation coincided with BBC Scotland’s 60th anniversary – call it a “royal special” – and raises two points. One: Prince Charles is not a natural-born presenter, at least not a lighthearted one. His speeches on the environment may be astute and focused but they are certainly not amusing. The man is stiff, with no funny bones in his body. In fact, and this may be just me, he resembles George W. Bush in the way he fidgets, jokes and shakes his head when addressing others or when trying to be funny.
Two: it is rather peculiar that a member of the royal family has been asked to mark the 60th anniversary of BBC Scotland at this point in time. Sentiment across the border is not union-friendly. The issue of Scottish devolution is stronger than ever. The Scottish National Party’s win in the 2011 parliamentary elections was followed up with a pledge to hold a referendum on Scottish independence around 2014 or 2015.
The initiative rocked Whitehall to such an extent that David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, proposed to hold a UK-led referendum on the matter so that London may seize the initiative from Scottish Nationalists. Whitehall has shown willingness to devolve enough power to Scotland to hold the referendum earlier. Alex Salmond‘s SNP believe they already have this power and do not need Westminster’s blessing to carry anything out.
In the wake of all this political heave-ho, it seems odd that the BBC has opted to front its weather show with a royal highness. Perhaps someone is trying to sneak in a little PR for the United Kingdom. Or someone is manipulating the situation, exploiting the royals’ insecurities as well as their craving for popular appeal, putting them on the pedestal in order to agitate Scottish pride and increase nationalist sentiment, even if by a smidgen.
So much for Prince Charles’s weather special. Let us bring this piece to a close with something more substantial. Below is a speech by the Prince at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., on the topic of food production models. A venue and subject matter that suit him much better.