LONDON • When Prince Charles visited a friend in North-East England, he sent his staff a day ahead with a truck carrying furniture to redecorate the room.
It was not just the odd chest of drawers, according to a new biography. The truck carried the Prince and his wife Camilla's orthopaedic bed and linen, besides Prince Charles' own lavatory seat, premium lavatory paper, Laphroaig whisky, a small radio and two landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.
The deliveries did not stop there either, with the Prince's own organically grown food arriving next, reported the Daily Mail.
The Prince's hosts decided not to invite him again, according to the book by Mr Tom Bower, which portrays him as demanding and, at times, inconsiderate.
The book, Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion And Defiance Of Prince Charles, recounts another of the invitations extended to the Prince, for a long weekend on the Welsh border. On the Friday afternoon of the Prince's expected arrival, there was a call from St James' Palace offering regrets and informing that the Prince could not arrive until Saturday morning under pressure of business.
The following day, the same official telephoned to offer regrets for Saturday lunch, but gave the assurance that Prince Charles would be there for dinner. Then, in the afternoon, the whole trip was cancelled.
FULL OF SELF-PITY
Duty is what I live - an intolerable burden... Even my office is not the right temperature. Why do I have to put up with this? It makes my life so unbearable.
PRINCE CHARLES, as quoted in the book.
The reason, Prince Charles later revealed to his stricken hostess, was that he felt unable to abandon the beauty of his sunlit garden at Highgrove.
When the Prince travels, he does not travel light, the book reveals. After the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, he flew to Greece to stay for three days on his own in a monastery on Mount Athos.
Someone took a photograph that showed the Prince stepping off a boat with a remarkable amount of luggage in tow. It later emerged that he had brought 43 pieces of luggage for a few days of meditation.
The reason could have been linked to the Prince's frequent wardrobe changes. The book claims that he changes his clothes five times a day, with the help of four valets.
Even the Prince's personal policeman caters to his comfort. If he attends a function, the policeman hands over a flask containing a pre-mixed martini to the host's butler along with a special glass the Prince insists on using.
And if the Prince is staying for a meal, the host would have been informed in advance that a bag containing the royal's food would be delivered.
The Prince has shown similar quirks when hosting others to dinner. During a trip to India, at a lunch in a maharajah's palace, a loaf of Italian bread was unexpectedly placed on the table. But when an American billionaire accompanying the Prince reached out to take a piece, the royal shouted: "No, that's mine! Only for me!"
While the Prince allegedly hid his sense of entitlement when he emerged in public, the book recalls an incident when Sir Christopher Airy, who became Prince Charles' private secretary in 1990, was reprimanded for suggesting that a forthcoming visit was "your duty".
"Duty is what I live - an intolerable burden," the Prince is understood to have shouted at him.
It was neither the first nor the last time the Prince has claimed that he has got the short end of the stick in life.
At a dinner hosted by a billionaire in Klosters, Switzerland, Prince Charles sighed to King Constantine of Greece: "We pulled the short straw." His complaint: compared with the others in the room, both he and the King were short of cash. Not that the Prince was impoverished - his personal income from the Duchy of Cornwall was £16.3 million in 2007 alone.
Some have speculated that Prince Charles' extravagance is revenge on his father for sending him to Gordonstoun in Scotland during his formative years. The Prince loathed the school, but his father insisted he stay there to complete his secondary education.
His aides were familiar with his "Olympian" whingeing. "Even my office is not the right temperature," he would moan. "Why do I have to put up with this? It makes my life so unbearable."
Prince Charles' lawyers have dismissed the book's sources.