Do you, like me, feel a tiny bit queasy at today’s report that Prince Charles has been dragging his daughter-in-law, the former Kate Middleton, to watch opera and ballet at Covent Garden? Ostensibly, the idea is to inculcate her as a future patron of the arts, our lady of the muses.
Three reasons for queasiness:
1 Standard rulebook for fathers-in-law: stay out of the cultural lives of your children’s spouses.
2 Covent Garden was Princess Diana’s patch. She used to go there in private moments of distress, shielded from the public gaze by my late friend Ewen Balfour. Charles knows that. What is he thinking?
3 The UK arts will get very excited at getting a new royal on board. They shouldn’t. The idea of royal patronage is antideluvian, a deterrent to young audiences and people who (perhaps like Kate) are trying to discover opera and ballet for themselves.
Distinctly queasy. You, too?