Prince Charles couldn’t give a rats toss about Aussie Rules. Yet he has been re-appointed to the role of patron by the AFL of the game in Europe on a two year deal. My palace sources tell me that on average the Prince attends just on 100 events a year and is patron of over 400 organisations. Footy is completing with known “in crowd” cocktail set issues amongst peerages of such wealth and privilege they make the MCC members look like Reject Shop red and bluebloods. Even without Charle’s obligatory in-dining snifters, AFL promotion is hardly going from a whisper to a scream under the Prince’s watch.
Word is he’s passionate about ensuring today’s youth are developed fully and it’s this laudable trait that so impressed the AFL in making the appointment. His one handed attempt to take a handball receive whilst cradling a Johnny Gold on the rocks is role model 101. One junior diplomat – since demoted – quipped he looked flush like he’d just knocked over a pre season time trial.
While he only really needs a helicopter view of the game, he’s got to be on top of the small talk in the event dinner guests want gossip rather than game substance from the patron. As a celebrity he’s fond of getting out of there without drawing out final liqueurs. Subsequently he’s disciplined himself to be all over Fev trying to bet his way out of trouble while buried live in a shallow grave infested with network starved jungle rodents who realise he’s not part of the leadership group.
The AFL has overtly voted for the retention of the monarchy with the appointment as Charles reminded all at the launch in his cheeky demand that he be referred to as “King Carey”. Our palace moles tell that his AFL Induction DVD is on high rotation to the point where he now refers to bro Andy as a “bludger”. The Prince apparently explodes with a salivating roar “Go the Corgs!” when the tricolour guernsey appears during Chapter 8: Fans die waiting. Still some way to go.
As a love lorn man of letters he has a self penned well publicised need to live inside the game. He’s renowned for his entralling tales of game play wrought on the manicured turf of Geelong Grammar in his youth in the 1960’s where he picked up a love for the game. He can seamlessly guide the 1500 quid a plate crowd through the junk physics of reading the bounce off the deck from a wet low mongrel punt to win possession while avoiding a smash and grab on the family jewels.
He’d know too that from time to time he’s always going to get some curly Princess Diana questions. He’d know too from the DVD that this is not “good for football”. This is where his footy knowledge punches through while he dredges the footy metaphors to dazzle the bluey bloods with deft footwork and “outside time” Pendlebury type movement. Relationship breakdowns become “losing the players”. His affair and subsequent marriage to Carmilla transform as “desire to play out last few years at home”. After when the lights went out at Waverley Park back in the 80’s he revisited Dad’s quip that the grounds fusebox “looks as though it was put in by an Indian!” to raucous smoked peat motivated guffaws.
Pappy Phillip, a public speaking loose canon at best, yet more than casual game watcher, likened Charle’s appreciation of Mick Malthouse hanging on during the Carlton blitz to his visit to then dictator lead Paraguay because “Its a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by it’s people”. He’s also keen to ensure local manufacture of guernseys, and where that’s not possible at least in one of the Commonwealth members such as Sri Lanka or Bangladesh. He held a German trade convention spellbound with his analysis of how the transition of the wollen guernsey to polyester has weighted the game in favour of the player in possession. Plus wearing them to bed made him feel all squidgey.
So I toast you The Prince of Wales. To your role in promoting our great game. You are in rare territory as at 67, you await your first game. You’ve long passed our Syd Baker of 13 years and 12 days between games in 1908 and 1921. Maybe you could ask Stephen Danks to rev up mum’s cuppa to get you up for senior selection?