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Clearly not having learned from the furore surrounding Jack Straw’s handshake, Prince Charles has now grasped the hand of Robert Mugabe. Considering his luck lately, the poor fellow was bound to make some diplomatic gaffe, and if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly.
That said, it’s clearly not the best of ideas for the future King to be aligning himself with such people, but I do have a degree of sympathy for Charles, since he really couldn’t do right in this situation. Had he followed
Ronnie Richard Corbett’s advice…
This was a golden opportunity to deliberately and very visibly refuse to shake hands with this man. To fail to do so was, frankly, stupid.
…then I think this would have looked somewhat inappropriate at the funeral of one of the most respected men in the world – a very solemn event.
One MEP said, according to the Beeb, that this was “flagrant breach of the EU travel ban”. This person clearly wasn’t very well informed – as a memeber of the European Paliament, one would expect that he’d know about important agreements such as the Concordat, which allows Mr Mugabe to travel through Italy to reach the Vatican, which is an independent state.
So, for once, I’m going to stick up for Charles on this issue, since I think he probably did the only thing he could in the circumstances. Whether the circumstance should have been allowed to rise is another matter, but surely not one for the Prince.