Royal carpet in Sth America?

South Americans don’t quite know what to make of the British royal family. I suspect most are mildly suspicious. Monarchs are bad in the books of most independent Republics.

But I think there’s also a soft spot for Queen Liz and her brood. Certainly Princess Diana (“Laydee Dee” in the phonetic) was a big star in her day.

The local press takes them far too seriously though. The fact that Prince Charles is visiting Chile today at the start of his week-long tour will inevitably stir media comment about links to Pinochet and the Falklands’ War (at least here in Argentina).

A few weeks ago there was a huge hoo-hah about Prince William doing a stint at the military base on the Falklands. It was interpreted ("A Prince in the Middle of a Republic") as if his uncle and former Falklands veteran Prince Andrew has personally sent him to pick up where he’d left off.

Prince Harry can always be trusted to lighten the tone though. When he was last in Argentina, he raised so much hell with the booze and the local girls, that he was sent home (“for security reasons” – though whose security, his or the polo players’ daughters, was never clarified). 

The continent’s Anglo descendents – the offshoots of empire and great grandchildren of railway engineers – are the exception. Most still live in the 1950s, when Britain still swaggered on the world stage and memories of Charles’ grandmother as Empress of India were still fresh.   

Prince Charles is due tonight at Santiago’s Prince of Wales Country Club to participate in a business round table on climate change. Whatever you think of the British royalty, it must be cool travelling the world and being hosted in far-flung places named after you.