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Why we’re hooked on superstition

By Sandra Dick

FOR the man who would be king, wearing a red and white ethnic string bracelet was bound to raise a few eyebrows.

Peeking out from beneath the expensive Anderson & Sheppard Savile Row suit and the handmade Turnbull & Asser shirt was the kind of ethnic adornment that a 14-year-old fan of boy band Busted might wear, rather than the 54-year-old heir to the throne.

Prince Charles was spotted wearing the bizarre bracelet – the kind favoured by ageing hippies, New Age followers and beach bums – amid the stiff solemnity of the Kirking of the Scottish Parliament last week, but it is only now that St James’s Palace has explained why and what it represents.

Rather than regressing to his teenage years, it transpires the Prince’s choice of wristband is actually a pagan charm, given to him during a state visit to Bulgaria.

“The Prince of Wales is meant to wear it until he sees a swallow or a stork,” explains a spokesman. “It’s a Bulgarian tradition to wear such a bracelet from around the beginning of March until the wearer sees either of the birds. It symbolises the change from winter to summer.”

Never mind what the Church of England thinks of the defender of the faith’s choice of pagan lucky charm, the Prince’s decision to wear his superstitions almost on his sleeve is, perhaps, not that surprising.

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