For generations, Prince Charming has been Dr Watson to the Holmes of Cinderella – maybe even Charles to Diana. He was an amalgam of John F Kennedy and Tom Sawyer, Spartacus and Jim Hawkins, John Lennon and Mr D’Arcy, yet – let’s face it – we know more about a pair of ugly sisters than we do about him.
However uncomfortable for the powers-that-be, it’s time his story was told.
Far from being the goody-goody and lifeless character of legend, the Prince was a wild and fascinating man, whose often contrary character was forged in a youth crammed with intrigue and adventure.
Without the help of any fairy godmother, he survived several attempts on his life. He was sold into slavery by pirates, was captured by the enemy in a colonial war. He was almost executed, for goodness’ sake. Without him, his home country of Belgiss (governed by the slippery Baron Naitly) would have been taken over by the enormously powerful Mercia (ruled by an idiot emperor, Frederick V).
And love? Well, yes, there was some love; even (shock, horror!) some other girlfriends before Cinderella. But the romance of ‘Charming!’ is one in the broader sense of the word: a romantic novel set in times considerably less romantic than they have been portrayed.
Is there something familiar about those times? Something even contemporary?
Well, if the glass slipper fits …