"OK, CLASS, IT'S time for our weekly current-events discussion. What famous person visited our city this past weekend?"

"I'll give you a hint: His first name was Charles and he is royalty."

"No, it wasn't Sir Charles Barkley. Why would he be here? For a 76ers game? No one goes anymore."

"Here's one more hint: He's a Prince."

"No, not the singer. He's in Miami practicing for his performance at halftime of the Super Bowl. It's this Sunday. How quickly we forget."

"Don't you kids read the newspapers anymore or watch the news? Is everything MyTube? Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, were in Philadelphia. There was almost as much coverage about their whirlwind tour as there would be for a 3-inch snowstorm."

"What do you mean you don't know what Prince Charles does for a living? No, he's not on welfare, nor is his mother. No, Queen Elizabeth is not the welfare queen President Reagan complained about."

"You're right. He does get millions of dollars from the British taxpayers, but it's not welfare. He's entitled to it because . . .

because . . . well, let's just move on. Besides, that's their business."

"No, I would not describe his wife as beautiful. You're confusing his new wife, Camilla, with his first wife, Princess Diana. She was gorgeous. I will not characterize Camilla's looks. Let me just say I'm sure Camilla has a wonderful personality - a really wonderful personality."

"I won't discuss that in class. Because it's none of our business if Prince Charles and Camilla were having phone sex when he was still married to Princess Diana. He said what to her? That he needs her several times a week! She said what? That she needs him the entire week!! And Charles then said what? He wanted to be a tam . . . "

"Don't say any more. That's disgusting. We aren't here to gossip."

"You're right; we did talk about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton last week. But we needed a break from Hillary; the presidential campaign still has 600 days to go."

"Yes, I did tell you Paris Hilton was a socialite and heir to the Hilton Hotel kingdom. But it's not the same thing as being like Prince Charles."

"Paris is a celebrity; she's not royalty. What's the difference? Celebrities are people who don't do much except travel, party, have a cause or two and get their pictures in the paper a lot. Royalty is . . . well, everyone knows what royalty is. I don't have to explain it."

"You're asking me why Prince Charles wasn't impeached for his phone sex like President Clinton? That's a silly question. You can't impeach a prince. He isn't elected or appointed. He inherits his position because of his bloodlines, not his ability or skills."

"No, I don't think it's fair to compare that to a City Council member."

"Is it like President Bush becoming president because his father was president? You're not listening to me. President George W. Bush was elected to his office; he had to earn it."

"Look, I don't want to discuss the Florida vote and dredge up history about stolen elections. Let's just say that a son and a father both becoming president is an exception to the rule in our country. And George W. is a very good example of why it should never become the rule."

"Prince Charles will become king when his mother, Queen Elizabeth, is good and ready to promote him. I know he's 58 and no spring chicken. You're right; it does seem like a rather long apprenticeship.

"I don't know what she is waiting for. She doesn't confide in me. You may be right. She may be protective of her son like Wilma is with Donovan."

"What do you mean that your mother said Charles would be king if the queen were Jewish? That's nonsense."

"She said what? She said that no self-respecting Jewish mother would let other mothers brag about their sons being doctors and lawyers when she could trump them by making her own son the king?

"She told you that if she were the queen she would have presented you with the throne for your bar mitzvah? Well, that sure beats the fountain pen I received."

"Look, students, I know this is all very confusing to you. I know it's hard for you to understand why the city rolled out the red carpet, stopped construction sites; why the media and residents were in a frenzy to greet someone who doesn't work, divorced a beautiful princess and talks dirty on the telephone, and whose ancestors taxed us without representation.

"But there are some things I simply can't explain."

"Do I think there would have been so much attention about Prince Charles if the Eagles were in the Super Bowl?"

"Charles who?"

Phil Goldsmith has served in senior positions in the private and public sectors, most recently as Philadelphia's managing director. You can read more at his blog,