Prince Charles hit back today at claims that he was a Sting fan, as debates surrounding the former Police front man's musical legacy raged. Sting, who announced that he was quitting the music business this week, suggested that the Prince was a big fan of his and expressed hopes that the Queen might also be converted. Yet a clearly "emotional" Charles told regulars at the "Hope and Anchor" in Brixton:
"One cannot stand the little runt and Mum thinks the same. His music is 100% self obsessed MOR garbage. Echo and the Bunnymen? Now that's real music - a bunch of scruffy mop tops from Liverpool. Now that shows a degree of originality that Sting could never pull off." In stark contrast to his late ex-wife, Charles seemed very angry that his name had been used in what he saw as a "cynical PR exercise."
Punters at the South London gastro-pub seemed united in their support for Charles, especially after he shouted them all to beef and ale pie.
Yet other public figures were far more generous in their reaction to Sting's retirement. Cherie Blair described Sting as a "wonderful contradiction of a man - emotive and sensual, almost feline - yet physically so strong and defined everything I would want in a husband." Chris Martin of Coldplay admitted that he probably would never have picked up a microphone had he not wanted to be "just like Sting."
Meanwhile Chief Haono of the Amazonian Indian Kayapo tribe praised the way Sting brought their plight to the attention of the world in the late 1980s:
"Sting saved us. Before we had nothing and our lands and resources were being exploited by the white man. Then Sting took our leader Raoni around the world meeting the likes of David Letterman, Terry Wogan and that crazy Eddie Murphy man. Now we have planes, apartments in the big cities and the only people who exploit our lands for private profit are us. What a great guy that Sting is."
In the House of Commons, demands for a full Parliamentary debate on Sting's legacy have so far been resisted by Tony Blair. But those calling for a debate remain confident that once the tabloid press jump on their bandwagon, the PM will be too scared not to comply.