A spokesman for Prince Charles has scotched rumours that the heir to the British throne is the real author of a series of mysterious Amazon.com reader reviews that have perplexed and entertained Internet users over the past eighteen months.
After the leak of two letters from the Prince to the Lord Chancellor, Charles' devotion to letter writing has been the source of much comment in the British press in the past week. Charles, we now know, has been writing to government ministers and civil servants for many years, and also sends long, sometimes sympathetic and often admonishing letters to his subjects too.
But the similarities between the Prince and a mysterious "Henry Raddick" have given birth to one of the oddest net.rumours of recent times: that the Amazon.com reviewer is Charles himself.
Raddick's confessional reviews - apparently tolerated by the internet giant, making him a cult figure with Internet surfers and one of Amazon.com's most popular contributors - have reached the pages of the New York Times, and found a cult following in the blog community thanks to link concentrators such as Plastic and MetaFilter. Recently a man with a British accent claiming to be Henry Raddick was interviewed for National Public Radio.
And the similarities between the two are striking. Both Henry Raddick and Prince Charles are middle-aged men with two teenage children, both are prone to melancholy and late night introspection and displaying stoicism in the face of disappointment. With Charles, it's been the lifelong wait to accede to the throne. With Raddick, it's been the crushing disappointment of acquiring a pug under the misconception that it would grow into a full-sized bulldog.
We rang Highgrove to find out if Charles - famous for his Goonish sense of humour - had added to his epistolatory cannon in the form of these delightful reviews. Is Prince Charles the real Henry Raddick?
"That's absolute resolute rubbish," a spokesman for Prince Charles' office told us this morning.
But the similarities are uncanny, are they not?
"It's still absolute rubbish."
We were going to ask how he was so sure, and marvel at how familiar he was with the Raddick oeuvre, but heck, an official denial is good enough for us, and we only print the truth.
But that might not be enough to dampen the Internet rumour mongers. Strange coincidences may yet provide fuel for future historians of the Royal Family, particularly when they discover that "Raddick" reviewed a book authored by Prince Charles' father, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, only eighteen months ago.
In his summary of
Competition Carriage Driving by the Duke, "Raddick" shone some warmth on a relationship that has often been characterized as cold and distant:
"At a crowded end of the market, this book shines out. The author offers words of wisdom to those who see competitive carriage driving as a 'way out of the ghetto' and talks candidly about allegations of banned substances and in-breeding which have dogged the sport," noted Raddick tersely, but generously.
As moving words as we shall ever read. Register readers can draw their own conclusions. ®