Now in his 93rd year, the Prince is reported to be “philosophical” about the fact he may never get through his bucket list of people to upset. As he takes on a lighter workload of public engagements, he accepts that there are many people and communities he “will never have time to reach out to” with his tactless gaffes and social blunders.
“When I started out, it was all so easy”, he said in a recent interview, “you could make a comment about slitty-eyed Chinese and go home content with having offended a quarter of the world's population, then on your next public outing, you'd move on to the French, or the deaf, or whatever. At that rate, I'd have got round to everyone eventually”. But now, he explained, society is fragmenting into groups that are multiplying faster than he can think up remarks to leave them outraged: “You've got the hearing-impaired, the partially sighted, same-sex this, transgender that...it's impossible to keep up, but one does one's best...”
He is resigned to the fact that the tradition of making people cringe with embarrassment at public events will die with him: “Fat chance of Charles keeping my work going after I'm gone...come to think of it, could somebody check to see if I've offended people with big ears yet?”