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Why Britain Needs 'King' Charles and Sarah Miles Should Not Be Crossed at Ping Pong

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Even before the Queen's historic partial handover of duties to Prince Charles last week there was at least one person already singing the future king's praises.

Sarah Miles, the Oscar-nominated actress now a committed spiritual healer, feels Britain is on the verge of major changes and the Prince of Wales could be the guy to step-up and make a difference.

I interviewed her recently at her West Sussex home where she told me: "Now obviously most kings are no good, but sometimes they are and we have one. He is such an extraordinary man and the press have done him a hell of a lot of damage.

"A lot of them (the Royal family) are duffers, but he isn't, he's a visionary - the only one we've got. Nobody in our country loves our country as much as he does.

"Everybody in government is out for the trappings of power and they're not thinking about their country, they're thinking about how's the best way to stay in.

"And here you have a guy who cares more deeply than the rest of them, truly, deeply cares, for his love for Britain comes as an arrow, straight from the heart.

"He isn't lusting after power or greed. He has no agenda except devotion to his country. Britain's future deserves clarity of vision, not that eternal political smog of ego, greed and a rampant craving for power.

"This is why democracy doesn't work - this five-year thing - because politicians' only concern is staying in."

I tend to agree with her about Charles. As much stick as he's taken for Diana, Camilla, his anti-Modernist views on architecture and influence-seeking letters to politicians, he has still emerged as a conscientious reformer and raised his boys into well-rounded men.

He'll be the first monarch with a university degree and his creation and running of the Prince's Trust signals he could also be the most socially empathic.

Sarah, a youthful-minded, boundlessly enterprising woman, sees it as a good time for an inner revolution, a new beginning with better values and a more just society.

"I believe in karma me, therefore I have to try to live a road of harmlessness," she said. "That's my only aim to remain harmless. But I'm also happy to start a revolution. A harmless revolution.

"Karma also means action, though physical action will not be required. Readiness is all. It will be more of an 'inner revolution' where two thirds of us will 'see the light' and the Neanderthals, still clinging on with bleeding fingernails, will be swept away.

"I get really upset watching the political blunders. It's as if the governments of the world are in panic mode; wisdom and panic cannot coexist. We deserve to be ruled with love not fear."

There's no direct action or jihadism involved in Sarah's revolution of change, instead its more a case of leading by example, promoting openness.

"We are in a very exciting time," she went on. "Anything could happen any time and believe me it's going to. A new beginning. And, oh yeah it will be good.

"It's the people who have demanded more transparency with the conglomerates, government, banks - all businesses. This is a hell of a ride for us all because everything we thought was OK has got an underbelly of corruption and greed under it which is all being forced up because we are demanding total transparency.

"People power is so wonderful because it's going to take us through to where we need to be. The meek shall inherit the earth.

"We're not going to let them get away with too much more, that's when you get real change, that moment - the tipping point."

Having trod the boards with some of the greatest actors ever Sarah spends most of her time now-a-days offering holistic therapy and spiritual healing from her amazing 936-year-old house Chithurst Manor. She also writes regularly (she's published several books), is filming her umpteenth movie later this year and is a devoted grandmother to her son Tom Bolt's football-mad 13-year-old.

I'm not sure what I expected when I went to interview her, but she was a good sport and let fly on all manner of subjects. Having discussed her healing retreat for mirror.co.uk the conversation soon veered to politics, drug use and the internet.

On Nigella taking cocaine: She laughed and said, "God bless Nigella. Though you do have to ask 'what the hell is she on?' on her programme. I wouldn't go near it (cocaine) with a bargepole.

"And they (coke heads) talk to you as though they have these pearls of wisdom to impart but say diddly shit. Your mind is playing a game with you. It's a false game so why take it? It's taking her (Nigella) to a false place."

On the honours system: " You give away some money publicly to a good cause, look good, and they give you a gong."

On foreign policy in the Middle East: "No wonder our reputation stinks. We're appalling and yet we want to transplant what doesn't work here (in Britain). And they call it democracy. Are people off their heads? Where's the democracy here? Whatever it is it 'aint working, nor is it working in America."

On the internet: "It seriously damages conscience, for it muddies the line between lies and truth. I would not want to be a mother today, all that fear out there. The internet has killed childhood stone dead."

Sarah's strong inner resolve, based on a type of cosmic spiritualism, parallels a great curiosity with the world, and while she doesn't pry she's good at catching you off guard with the occasional pointed question.

The thing about soothsayers, however, is they have a hard time finding people who will listen to them, they're discredited and dismissed, as Miles has been - labelled 'eccentric'.

She is a little eccentric, but eccentricity isn't a bad thing and Miles views on the whole are very sensible.

And my engaging afternoon with the actress, during which she toasted me a cheese and tomato sandwich, wasn't done.

Once I'd put my tape recorder away, she rose from her chair with a glinting eye and asked if I played ping pong.

I nodded and, seeing where it was going at that point, naively resolved to myself to 'go easy' on the 72-year-old. Such niceties, I quickly learned, were both unnecessary and also not to be extended to me.

Surrounded by the wood panelling and leadlight windows of her study we chose our paddles and she set about slaughtering me, first 21-6, then, after she'd warmed up, 21-3. And all with her weaker left hand. Humiliating.

During the 10 minutes this pummelling took she bounced around like Tigger, diving under furniture for the ball and displaying perfect vision to snatch the top edges I skied out of bounds.

As I muttered excuses she tried tempering the defeat by relating one of her own while filming Ryan's Daughter and playing a tournament with the crew.

"Keen to get through to the second round I picked this fellow with a gammy leg," she said. "I was pretty good even then, but he thrashed me. Turned out to be the Southern Irish champion."

Returning to my seat at the large wooden table in her Norman-era kitchen I admitted my loss to her fellow therapist Ian Delves, who snorted ruefully as he'd obviously done many times previously.

If I'd been under any misapprehension about the positive benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, in mind and body, that game of ping pong set me straight.

To find out more about Chithurst Manor healing and retreats click here.

Around the Web

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