Written by Harry Porter
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Wednesday, 23 February 2005

image for Prince Charles launches best man competition
Vacant - at the moment - but could you fill the best man's suit?

Prince Charles is out to capture his people's hearts when he weds Camilla Parker Bowles in April by offering up the coveted role of best man to every male UK citizen.

With the wedding already covered in controversy, it had seemed like the heir to the throne's civil ceremony would go ahead without this usual formality.

But in a dramatic turn of events, the Prince of Wales looks like becoming the Prince of Hearts by making his special day, extra special for a commoner - as well as Mrs Parker Bowles who has waited 34 years to become Mrs King In-Waiting.

The lucky pleb will be treated to dinner, bed and breakfast at a guest house "quite near" to Windsor Castle and the town hall where the wedding of the month will be held.

But the Prince's generosity doesn't stop there.

In an unprecedented act of benevolence, the blessed Brit' will also be given the loan of a suit and a return bus ticket from his home town.

Constitutional expert Harold Brooks-Baker, from Burke's Peerage, confirmed the generous gesture was a first for the British monarchy.

"It is an amazing opportunity for someone out there," he said. "It will be an occasion to remember for days.

"Nothing like this has happened since Henry VIII's days when a passing thatcher was drafted in as a witness to the King's marriage to Anne of Cleves in 1540, following the execution of most of the wedding party following a typical royal rage.

"And that didn't end too happily as the unfortunate tradesman was later boiled in a vat of his own urine."

Charles' best man is highly unlikely to suffer the same fate but will not, however, be permitted to join the post-nuptial blessing and later knees-up in Windsor Castle.

That, by tradition, can only be attended by accredited toffs and celebrities who "amuse".

But the wave of regal generosity is sweeping down from the very top.

The Queen, who is paying for her son's reception, has agreed that the best man can have anything he so desires from the £5 and under menu at the Sunny Garden Chinese takeaway, round the corner from the town hall.

Bidding to become best man couldn't be simpler. Simply jot down, in no more than 75 words on a congratulations card, why you would like to be best man and send it off to: I Really Like You Competition, HRH Prince Charles, London.

Gifts, accompanying entries, are also encouraged.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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