IF anyone ever “gets Brexit done” it is likely to be King Charles III.
When you are the longest-serving heir apparent to accede to the throne (Charles was 73 when our Queen died) there is inevitably talk about you being a “caretaker king” merely keeping the throne warm for the next generation of royalty.
History has found a greater destiny for King Charles III.
After Brexit, this country desperately needs a reset with our friends, allies and neighbours.
If we are going to have a happy, prosperous life outside the EU — and the jury is still out — we must be on good relations with democracies next door.
It is stark-raving mad — isn’t it? — that we make enemies of France and Germany when Russia and China are in the world, when the greatest land war since 1945 is raging in continental Europe, and Putin is placing his nuclear weapons on the borders of Nato (Belarus, Russia’s soon-to-be nuclear-primed puppet state, shares a border with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, all Nato members).
Brexit should be about more than making enemies of our natural allies.
And yet our relations with France are so lousy that when illegal immigrants jump off a dinghy in Dover, we can’t even send them back to France — we send them to Africa.
The monarchy has a soft power that no politician can ever match. Queen Elizabeth II is an impossible act to follow.
But King Charles III, and King William V after him, and King George VII in his turn, will all represent this country.
They will, as the Queen did before them, embody the soul, heart and spirit of these islands in a way no here-today-gone- tomorrow politician ever will.
It is no coincidence that the first state visits of King Charles III were to be to France and Germany, although France was cancelled by President Macron as so many French cities are burning.
In 1953, the Queen and Prince Philip embarked on a seven-month tour across the globe, visiting 13 countries.
But King Charles has bridges to build much closer to home. Our Queen’s role was more than symbolic.
She was a teenager during the Blitz, but visited Germany for 11 days in 1965, a hugely important act of post-war reconciliation between two scarred nations.
And in 2012, the Queen shook hands with former IRA leader Martin McGuinness at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, living proof that the Troubles were over. The Queen had a genius for reconciliation.
Charles will make this country, and the world, a better place by showing he is made of the same stuff. It’s already begun.
The tour of Germany was a triumph, and deeply moving. The trip to France will be rescheduled.
There is talk of a visit to the Republic of Ireland. Charles has expressed a wish to visit Ukraine.
This itinerary suggests the King understands there are wounds that need to heal — and they are next door.
Inside or outside the EU, we simply can’t afford to be enemies with France.
And no matter how much they may resent Brexit, France can’t afford to be enemies with us.
Not with Putin’s rabble army on the march.
From Macron slandering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, to Prime Minister Liz Truss being unable to say if France is “friend or foe”, there has been enough bad blood with France to last a lifetime.
Democracies hating each other helps no one but Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
The Queen’s role over her 70-year reign was to guide this country from the British Empire to the Commonwealth, and to make genuine friends of former enemies.
Charles’ role is to do what he can to take this country from its current post-Brexit state, sticking two fingers up at Europe from behind our porous Swiss cheese borders, to being a valued, respected and even beloved partner once more.
Charles will use what he calls “the time that is granted to me as King” to fulfil his historic destiny.
This country has burned too many bridges in recent years. With the help of our King, it’s time to start building a few.
Here’s to love of Paul
PAUL O’GRADY, who has died at the age of 67, was loved by every dog owner and by every dog.
I saw him a lifetime ago, as Lily Savage, in a Liverpool club.
But Paul will always be remembered for his ITV show from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – For The Love of Dogs, a career-defining series that captured him in all his animal-loving warmth.
Paul understood the heartbreakingly short lives that dogs lead, and also why the price of love is always worth paying.
“Taking any animal into your heart will inevitably end in heartache,” he said. “But you don’t worry about the hangover when you’re at the party.”
We have lost a national treasure. And dogs have lost their best friend.
Andy’s stupid ideas
PRINCE Andrew, the original spare, wants to write his own book to repair his reputation.
Didn’t know he had one!
But seriously, folks, has he actually read his nephew’s brutally blabber-mouthed autobiography?
Harry’s book went into every secret corner of his life. Virginity lost, Taliban killed, Nazi fancy dress – nothing was off limits.
Is Andrew REALLY going to be that honest about his own life? We’ll see!
“Everyone close to him (Andrew) is telling him that it (writing a book) is a stupid idea and he should just forget it,” one insider whispers.
But from his toxic friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein to his catastrophic interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, something being A REALLY STUPID IDEA has never stopped Prince Andrew from doing it.
We can only laugh at Harry now
“ALL I had ever wanted was privacy,” Prince Harry emphatically DOESN’T write in “Spare Us”, Bruno Vincent’s parody of Harry’s book.
“In order to get it, it seemed that an exceptionally detailed 500,000-word book was in order.”
We have moved beyond wanting to boo. The runaway royal booby just makes us laugh.
When we used to get a buzz about socks
DURING her appearance in a Utah court, Gwyneth Paltrow was asked by the lawyer representing a skier who claimed she crashed into him (he lost) about giving Taylor Swift a vibrator for Christmas.
Objection, Your Honour!
I remember the days when people were happy getting a box of Black Magic chocolates and a nice pair of socks.
Share Olivia guilt
THOMAS CASHMAN, the murderer of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, finally managed a few tears.
Even if they were only for himself when he was found guilty of murder.
Olivia’s face will haunt this country. Perhaps you could see the echo of your own child in those heartbreaking images of Olivia. I know I could.
We will remember Olivia.
Thomas Cashman, 34, the gangland hitman who stole her life, will be forgotten.
Let the scumbag rot in jail, let his name slip from our memory.
But there is an uncomfortable truth that can’t be ducked.
Olivia, that beautiful little girl, was caught in the crossfire of the drug wars.
Cashman and his stinking kind only exist, and only thrive, and only mindlessly act, so murderously because there is a massive recreational drugs industry in this country.
That is the hard truth. Olivia was innocence incarnate.
But anyone who buys recreational drugs, and stuffs the pockets of Thomas Cashman and his faceless masters, must carry their share of the blame for the senseless death of Olivia Pratt-Korbel.
Kiss off for PDA
THE abbreviation “PDA” was mentioned a lot when Harry Styles was pictured getting friendly with Emily Ratajkowski on a night out in Tokyo.
PDA apparently stands for public display of affection.
Somehow “snogging” just says it so much better.