Prince Charles is on another cuckoo yet well-meaning crusade. Moved by the suicides of UK sheep farmers who can’t cope with a changing industry, the would-be naturalist and anti-industrialist says he’ll set fire to jackets, duvets, and carpets at his Clarence House home on Thursday to show that wool is a natural flame retardant.
The blaze — which will be witnessed by the likes of Vivienne Westwood, an avowed less-is-more environmentalist, and reps from High Street stores such as Marks & Spencer and Jigsaw — is part of a push by Charles to revive Britain’s affection for wool. He sees the natural product as an eco-friendly, local, sensible alternative to cheap and unsafe disposable items that undermine wool sales in Britain. That’s the idea, although giving any HRH access to fire seems like a dicey prospect.
As his pièce de résistance, Prince Charles will use a ceremonial spade once used by King George VI to bury both a woolen and a synthetic shirt in a flower bed. After four months, they’ll be dug up to, hopefully, reveal the wool version beginning to rot (a good thing) and the synthetic version looking as good as new (a bad thing).