You hardly could blame Prince Charles for the raspy voice with which he lectured the students of Georgetown University last week, what with his speech on sustainable food coming just five days after the multimillion-dollar wedding of his son, Prince William, to the charming commoner Kate Middleton.
After all, when you’re partying all night with Sir Elton John and a cadre of royals from around the globe, you’re likely to get a little hoarse.
Funny enough, the prince - a lifelong environmentalist who, for the past 26 years, has operated organic farms on some of his palatial estates - didn’t discuss the yummy varieties of food served days earlier at the lavish parties in honor of his son and daughter-in-law.
Rather than recap the endless array of canapes and cakes served at the queen’s luncheon for 650 guests, or describe the menu at the private party he hosted for 300 personal friends the evening of the wedding, Prince Charles urged attendees of a conference on the “future of food” to protect the Earth’s soil ecosystems and promoted the expanded use of animal waste and other natural composts.
Personally, I’d have been more interested in knowing about the preparation of the organic lamb served three ways, crab from Wales (where else?) served with mini crab timbale (mousse, for you foodies; “what is this stuff?” for the uninitiated), followed by chocolate fondant and homemade ice cream in gingersnap baskets.
Then again, I’m a Food Network junkie. Menus interest me.
The prince has been a leader in food politics for nearly 30 years. What began as the ranting of an eccentric oddball, (Remember the whole “talking to plants” thing? And the solitary trips to remote places to meditate? And the rants against modern architecture?) has, over time, become the passionate cause of a man in search of relevance.
Never mind that he continues his quest to name the red squirrel Britain’s national mascot. (“For me, the battle for the red squirrel is iconic,” he has said.)
It turns out that what seemed entirely wacko some 30 years ago was only cutting-edge eco-radicalism.
Prince Charles, once an international punch line, now is taken seriously as an advocate for the Earth, owing to his commitment to sustainable farming (read: opposition to chemical fertilizer and corporate food production).
Yet it must be noted that even on his farmlands, which are heavily subsidized by the British people, Prince Charles‘ agricultural efforts reportedly have never turned a profit.
No matter. Right is right, even down on the farm.