SARAH VINE: Is it so bonkers to see Charles as Britain’s first republican King? 

Hardly surprising, when you think about it, that the incendiary mob rampaging through France has it in for King Charles. They’re up in arms at the thought of raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 – and here’s a man who’s taking on a huge job and a punishing new work schedule at the age of 74.

The last thing these Leftist zealots want is to be made to look like lazy slackers by a man they have traditionally cast as an idle, blood-sucking leech.

Not that any of that justifies the threats: ‘Mort au Roi’ (Death to the King) scrawled in red graffiti in the Place de la Concorde in Paris (scene, of course, of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s execution in 1793), or ‘Charles III, do you know the guillotine?’

Strong stuff, even by the loathsome standards of the hard-Left.

Nevertheless, it was not Charles but Emmanuel Macron who caved into the mob, postponing the King’s state visit.

Britain’s King Charles III and Britain’s Queen Consort Camilla host the annual Commonwealth Day Reception at Buckingham Palace in London

It was not our head of state’s choice, but maybe a couple of unscheduled days off will do Charles good.

Still, I can’t help feeling there’s a certain irony in all this – in the fact that arguably the most progressive monarch Britain has ever seen is being cancelled by a Leftist mob. Lately especially, as Charles has taken swift and determined steps to pursue his agenda of a ‘slimmed-down monarchy’.

Indeed, part of me has started to wonder: is Charles III our first republican king?

I’m joking, of course, but perhaps the question is not entirely bonkers.

Charles understands the criticisms of the monarchy, and why some are set against it in principle. Like his father, he’s a radical traditionalist – someone who believes in the institution but who doesn’t necessarily approve of past practices.

Also, he’s intent on ensuring it earns and deserves its privileges and, perhaps most importantly, evolves into an institution that can survive and thrive in the modern world. That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy the trappings. While his mother was very much a three-bar heater and Tupperware sort, he likes his creature comforts. But he believes the rewards of his Royal position should be well-earned, and despite being someone who has lived all his life in a bubble of privilege, he is not, like some family members, an exclusionist snob who takes advantage of his Royal status for personal gain.

Hence, for example, his decision to evict the troublesome Prince Harry from his grace-and-favour Frogmore Cottage just days after the publication of his memoir, Spare.

Likewise, his brother Andrew, who has been offered Frogmore as a replacement for Royal Lodge, which he can no longer afford or, quite honestly, justify. Whereas a blind eye might have been turned in the past to the notion of a non-working Royal occupying prime Royal real estate, it seems Charles is resolved to send a signal: membership of this exclusive club cannot be assumed, it must be deserved.

Crucially, long term, he intends to end subsidised rents for all members of the family, with a source stressing last week that he ‘is not some sort of housing association for distant relatives’.

The overall aim is to save costs – and provide better value for the taxpayer. There’s more than a republican streak to that decision.

As The Mail on Sunday reports today, even Angela Kelly, the Queen’s dresser and confidante for more than 20 years, fears that she may have to leave her grace-and-favour home.

Of course, those who hate the monarchy will never be satisfied with anything less that its total demise, and no doubt the Coronation will be attacked by the Left as an example of tin-eared Royal excess during a cost-of-living crisis – even though Charles has insisted that the ceremony be pared back, and has already saved thousands of pounds by not sending out traditional ‘stiffies’, inviting guests via email instead.

But the more we see of King Charles, the less ammunition he affords his critics and the more likely it seems that this man – whom many had dismissed as, at best, a caretaker monarch – might well turn out to be the real deal.

Dashed expectations

Much hoo-ha about BBC TV’s new adaptation of Great Expectations – (starring Shalom Brune-Franklin) from the creator of Peaky Blinders.

I’ve watched it, and the main thing I’d say is that it’s utterly predictable in its desire to shock.

It’s like that one person at a party drinking too much and doing the splits when everyone else is trying to have a civilised conversation: entertaining for about five minutes, then just rather boring.

Shalom Brune-Franklin in the BBC's new adaptation of Great Expectations

Shalom Brune-Franklin in the BBC’s new adaptation of Great Expectations

Shame on Rio for thin-shaming Posh

Football pundit Rio Ferdinand has stirred up a wasps’ nest by saying he’d never seen Victoria Beckham eat. 

Judging by the size of the mother-of-four, pictured above, I don’t imagine she eats an awful lot – but that’s her choice, and so long as she’s healthy, what business is it of anyone’s?

Thin-shaming is just as toxic as fat-shaming.

Victoria Beckham seen walking in New York City

Victoria Beckham seen walking in New York City

Migrants must check out 

Ministers are considering starting to move asylum-seekers out of the 400 hotels across the country where they are currently billeted and into other forms of housing, including ex-military bases and student halls of residence.

No doubt this will provoke howls of protest from Labour and human right groups – but what’s the alternative? 

We can’t keep spending £7 million a day on hotels. Besides, if word got out that the British taxpayers no longer offered four-star accommodation, migrants planning to come here illegally might think twice.

The BBC Singers, the only full-time choir in the UK, is no longer going to be axed by Corporation bosses as part of a drive to save money. 

A number of organisations have apparently come forward offering ‘alternative funding’. 

But I thought the whole point of the licence fee was for the BBC to fund cultural ventures that weren’t necessarily profitable? 

Perhaps if it spent less on Gary Lineker (price tag £1.35 million) and more on fulfilling its remit, the BBC wouldn’t have to rely on rich benefactors.

How absurd that Liz Truss, who presided over this country for just 49 catastrophic days marked by chaos and incompetence, has submitted a list of resignation honours. 

Admittedly there are only four people on it – but still: has the woman no shame?

Rishi Sunak’s idea to give communities a say in how antisocial behaviour is punished sadly reminds me of Tony Blair’s wheeze in 2000 of issuing on-the-spot fines for drunken louts, who would be frogmarched by police to the nearest cashpoint. 

Needless to say, Blair’s plan proved unworkable, and I don’t imagine this one will be any different. 

The best way to deal with offenders is to make the legal systems already in place more efficient, not offer vengeful locals the opportunity to exact petty revenge. 

This week, Farrow & Ball, purveyors of posh paints, launches a revolutionary new ‘multi-surface, ultra-matt finish’ called Dead Flat. Sorry, but aren’t all walls already flat? Not to mention, er, dead.