A magical garden
|The goddess Diana at Highgrove|
But as visitors admire the Highgrove gardens' beauty and environmentalists laud the Prince's views on conservation and sustainable management, all is not as it seems. Because Prince Charles' garden has a carefully concealed secret. Craftily blended into seemingly innocent and idyllic greenery, it has some disturbingly dark symbolism woven into the very heart of this grove.
The wooing of Lady Diana Spencer
Only forty years ago Highgrove House was a bland and unimposing feature in an equally uninspiring landscape, until three spiritually minded and self-procliamed 'priestesses' of gardening persuaded Prince Charles to purchase the forlorn property in 1980 and create an ecological garden that was years ahead of its time. Then, only months after the acquisition, one of these three muses, close confidante and special friend Camilla Parker-Bowles, introduced lady Diana Spencer to the princely gardener. Diana, a shy virgin with a close relationship to her father Earl Spencer, was deemed the right material to become a suitable wife to Charles. The reticent young woman was to be the perfect companion to the heir to the throne. A future queen. She was to complement him and share with him a keen interest in nature, hunting, architecture, music and the arts. But as we know, the fairy tale wedding was to end in heartache and grief, or as Charles wrote to former First Lady Nancy Reagan: a Greek tragedy.
In this article I will try and reconstruct the real reason why a bachelor prince, surrounded and cosseted by worldly wise and available women agreed to marry an impressionable young bride who had little in common with him. Her new husband's unusual gardening project held no interest for her, and she abhorred the hunt. She was uneducated in the finer points of architecture and art, and her modern taste in music clashed with his appreciation of classical music. Observers made the assumption that she was chosen for her lineage and virginity, to provide suitable offspring for the throne, but with my research I hope to present a different but truly disturbing dimension to the choices Charles made. What was the real reason for enticing Diana into Highgrove and its mysterious gardens?
We find a number of intriguing clues in a BBC documentary in which Sir Alan Titchmarsh, renowned gardener and television presenter as well as a favourite with the Royal Family, is shown around the Highgrove gardens by Prince Charles himself in 2011.
A religious Prince...
But before reviewing at the documentary in detail, let's take a closer look at Charles' motivations in life. Because we will see how these convictions are reflected in the design of Highgrove gardens:
"If you want to look into the heart of the future King of England, then you need to look no further than his own private garden. Highgrove is a reflection of Prince Charles' spiritual and aesthetic aspirations where gardening merges with art and music."
"Above all, what does this sanctuary and private home mean to the man who will be king?" - Alan TitchmarchFor someone who describes himself as a practising Christian, Charles is not afraid to engage with other religions:
... or a mystical Prince?From embracing Islam to attending Catholic masses and plans for a "multi-faith" coronation, Prince Charles's religious beliefs are wide-ranging.“I don’t think there is another major figure in the western world who has as high a standing as he has in the Muslim world. I would describe him as a friend of Muslims.”Over the last few decades, this has become plain. The Prince has tested the boundaries of his public role by attending Catholic masses, and his private spiritual enquiry has been frequent fodder for satirists, forcing him to deny using Ouija boards and “dabbling in the occult”.The Prince has studied Judaism as well as Islam, and is close to Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi. He believes that both faiths have “a great deal in common” with Christianity. “The future surely lies in rediscovering the universal truths that dwell at the heart of these religions,” he has said. “All I have ever wanted to do is build bridges that span these chasms.”The Prince has also praised the wisdom of the Eastern gurus. The Telegraph
So is Charles merely showing an interest in the cultures and religions he will one day preside over, or is there more to it than that? Is he showing an ecumenical side to his belief system, or do his spiritual inclinations run much deeper?
Laurens van der Post introduced the Prince to mysticism and encouraged him to "see the old world of the spirit".
The friendship left a lasting impression on the Prince's faith. "I once heard him tell someone that he spoke up for respecting the natural world for the glory of God," says the Rt Rev James Jones, who during his 15-year tenure as Bishop of Liverpool regularly prayed with the Prince. "If that is mysticism - seeing God at work in his creation - then, yes, the Prince does warm to that.""Everything has a meaning"
And nowhere is this appreciation for nature more obvious than at Highgrove gardens. So make yourself a cup of tea and sit back to watch the documentary, after which I will explain everything you have seen but not necessary grasped its significance. As the Prince stated himself: "Every tree - everything has a meaning".
Prince Charles and Sir Alan Titchmarsh at Highgrove gardens
To be continued.