An open letter to Prince Charles of the United Kingdom, a.k.a. the Prince of Wales.

Dear Your Royal Personage:

A few of my friends and I were sitting over dinner at a steak joint called Izzy's here in San Francisco the other night, waxing nostalgic about the so-called "Camelot" era of Jack and Jackie Kennedy.(As you and I are contemporaries, I am speaking of the period of your life when you would have been in junior high school, had you gone to junior high school, which I know future kings do not.)

Anyway, we were talking about how terrific it was to have a young, good-looking couple and their kids as the symbolic First Family of the country instead of the depressing assortment of eccentrics, dilettantes, boobs and louts who have been in the White House since the Kennedys.

Along the same line, we came to the conclusion that - after eight years of Ronald Reagan - the American presidency is like a lot of other things in the USA these days, the dollar included: not what it used to be.

"Reagan's proved that anyone can be president," said my friend Sally, who lives in Washington, D.C.

"What America needs now is a king," said my friend Barry, who took me to Ascot for Opening Day a few years back when both of us happened to be over on your side of the pond. "We're ready for a real titular head, a symbolic leader who doesn't bother with any pretense of power the way the president does. We just need somebody to worship and be loyal to."

"Yeah," said Sally, who originally came from Texas. "The closest thing we've got is Donald and Ivana Trump, and that ain't close at all."

Which brings me to the point of this letter, Your Royal Personage: What do you say? Would you consider the job? King of the United States?

Before you insist that you couldn't possibly accept, please hear me out.

No. 1, your mom is in really good shape, right? Just had her 62nd birthday? Given your gene pool, you could be sitting in a holding pattern for the next 20 years waiting for the second half of "Windsor & Son" to become a reality.

So what are you going to do in the meantime? More polo? More hiking around the Scottish moors? More skiing, ribbon-cutting and taking it on the chin from the British tabloids just because you happen to care about the ecosystem?

Your colonials need you, sir. Like my friend Sally said, the only people we have to worship and be loyal to over here are nerdy nouveau riche like the Trumps. Just flip through Vanity Fair a couple of months in a row if you don't believe me. Our taste in people has gone straight to Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire.

But you and Di and Harry and little William could elevate our standards. And here's the best part for you - you don't even have to move here. Just make a few trips more than you do now, and maybe rent a brownstone in New York City so people would have someplace to send the birthday and Christmas cards.

I can guarantee you'd be invited to the best parties - you'd never have to pick up a check. We'd do parades for you whenever you felt like it, and the press would treat you a lot kindlier than you've been used to. Americans practically invented the concept of talking to plants.

All I ask is that you think about it. And, for what it's worth, Barry's wife Joan - who isn't even 30 yet - thinks your ears are cute.