July 06, 1987 12:00 PM

Don’t let your heart depend on things

That ornament life in a fleeting way!

He who possesses, let him learn to lose.

—Schiller, 18th-century German playwright and poet

Off, off! What are you doing to my wonderful car?—Prince Charles to Diana

Obviously the Prince had better brush up on his Schiller. Spotting his wife perched on the hood of his beloved 1970 Aston Martin convertible before a polo outing in Windsor recently, Charles would have flipped his crown if he’d had one. The car, a 21st-birthday present from his mother, the Queen, is worth $80,000. But to Charles it is priceless, since despite a swarm of attentive photographers, he snapped at Di, “You can’t sit there! Get off! You’ll dent the bodywork.”

No sooner had Di dismounted than Charles began inspecting for dents. The Princess, not wholly repentant, stood by, unamused. Fortunately for her, the auto was unscathed. After Charles departed happily to play polo, Di plopped herself back on the car, albeit somewhat gingerly, crossed her endless gams and smiled innocently.

In keeping with the course of such things, two days after chewing out Di the Prince damaged the car himself in a minor accident in Windsor. That mishap resulted in a dent, scuff marks down the side of the Aston Martin and a repair bill of at least $1,600 to restore the car to its pristine condition. Which should prove to Charles, all’s well that ends welded.

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