King Charles’ close friend on brother’s ‘death sentence’ after MND diagnosis

Jonathan Dimbleby, A Friend Of King Charles, Reflects On The Monarch’s First Year

King Charles’ close friend Jonathan Dimbleby has addressed his brother Nicholas’ “death sentence” after he was diagnosed with MND in February.

“A couple of months before the diagnosis, Nick and his wife Kay came to lunch,” Jonathan told Radio Times in a new interview.

Presenter Jonathan, 79, is older than Nicholas by two years and his other siblings are David, 85, and Sally, 76.

The historian continued: “Nick wasn’t quite his normal self – he had a little difficulty eating. Afterwards, my wife Jessica and I both said, ‘I hope Nick’s all right.’”

Jonathan admitted he was “rocked” by his brother’s diagnosis as it was a “fearful shock”.

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He explained: “I love my brother. To hear he’s been given – as he knows – a death sentence is a terrible thing.”

MND is a fatal rapidly progressing illness which attacks the nerves controlling movement, meaning muscles cannot work any more.

As described by the MND Association, there is no known cure and it can leave people unable to talk, swallow, move and eventually breathe.

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A third of people with the illness die within a year of diagnosis and more than half within 48 months.

Nicholas, who is a father of four, is a very successful sculptor who mostly works with bronze.

Jonathan is clearly proud of his brother’s art and is concerned about his career following his diagnosis.

“Before this, Nick would say, ‘I am my brain, my voice and my hands,’” Jonathan added.

Jonathan got to know King Charles while making a documentary about him back in 1994.

Ahead of the King’s Coronation in May, Jonathan said the monarch would find the idea of people paying homage to him “abhorrent”.

“I can think of nothing that [Charles] would find more abhorrent,” he told BBC Radio 4 Today viewers at the time.

“He’s never wanted to be revered. He’s never wanted, as far as I know, to have anyone pay homage to him, except in mock terms as a joke.”

This week’s Radio Times is available to buy now with the full interview.

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