Katy Perry has a new job as of today — well, potentially two new jobs, but we’ll get to that. Prince Charles has just appointed Perry, a 35-year-old American, to be ambassador of the British Asian Trust, a charity he founded to combat inequality, poverty, and human trafficking in South Asia. The decision confused some commenters, who pointed out that — on top of being neither South Asian nor British — Perry has not infrequently been accused of cultural appropriation. (That American Music Awards performance in which she dressed as a geisha, for instance.) Perry is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, and the pair met at the trust’s council meeting in Mumbai last year. Still, all things considered, it’s sort of a puzzling choice — until you remember Charles’s thing for plants.
The future king of England is famously devoted to his plants and trees, conversing with them the way people might with their own children. In her address on Wednesday, Perry confirmed that “yes, sometimes he talks to his plants” and continued, “He asked me if I could sing to his plants, and I will in the future, you have my word, sir.” Hmmm, a quid pro quo, do we think?
This princely habit has been well documented: Charles was reportedly “labeled … as looney and eccentric” when word first got out that he talked (and listened, that’s important) to his plants, a thing he may have started doing as early as the 1970s. In 2013, he told BBC One’s Countryfile that he sometimes goes so far as to “instruct” his flora. The Duke of Cornwall apparently also makes sure to shake the hand (the limb?) of every tree he plants, “to wish it well.”
Communicating with his little green wards helps them not only to grow but to flourish, the prince reportedly believes. Perhaps he thinks having a Grammy-nominated artist sing to them will be especially edifying for his garden. Then again, a British musician with South Asian heritage could do that same job. Perhaps Prince Charles just really loved “Roar.”