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The Price of a Burger

I want to talk today about being royal and being fat and eating burgers. Not that members of our Royal Family are fat but some of them do eat burgers.

Now Prince Charles doesn't -- in fact he's caused something of an international storm in the world of the french fry this week, by appearing to tell a nutritionist in Abu Dhabi that banning McDonalds would be the key to improving the diet and health of the local population. The burger chain has defended itself stoutly, which seems the appropriate word, by saying the Prince was out of touch with current burger thinking.

Out of touch with his own family too, apparently. The Prince's sons, William and Harry, are regularly seen munching a Big Mac with fries. And just to undermine his case further, The Queen has been eating them too. That's right -- well, at least Dame Helen Mirren, Oscar winner for Best Actress in the movie 'The Queen' -- was photographed tucking in a huge cheeseburger at a celebration party. Should I be laughing at all this?

Well, there is a serious side to the issue. Our papers have been full of the story of 8 year old Connor McCreaddie, who is just eight years old, and tips the scales at 195 pounds. He lives in the north-east of England and eats a snack on average every 20 minutes. At one point, the poor boy faced the prospect of being taken into care by social workers to enforce a diet. Thank the Lord good sense prevailed, and he was allowed to stay with his mother.

I concede that eating loads of burgers or too much of anything else is a problem. But it is not a problem in which I see the need for the state or the social worker or indeed Prince Charles to intervene. There are some people who just like burgers, and if being fat is part of the price, then some are prepared to pay it. Surely the key is not to make them unhappy as a result. Give us the facts about what is in the food and then leave us alone.

It is no coincidence that the other problem we have apart from being fat is anorexia. Being too thin tends to be the main issue on the catwalks, in Hollywood and in many homes in my country as well as yours. And that is because we are making obesity such an issue. So if you do catch me munching one of your big burgers next time I'm stateside, just smile -- and leave me alone.
by Peter Allen