Prince Charles in Somerset, Microsoft's new boss and Kevin Pietersen in headlines

Prince Charles and his entourage on a tractor trailer in Somerset Image copyright Getty Images

Prince Charles's visit to flood-soaked Somerset makes a splash in Wednesday's papers, with the Sun renaming him "Prince of Wellies".

The Daily Mirror also focuses on the prince's footwear, noting that his Hunter Argyll boots cost between £45 and £300 for the Sovereign model, while the Daily Star puns: "The reign won't stop."

The Times viewed him "riding to the rescue... on a wooden throne". That's a reference to the garden bench, strapped to a tractor trailer, on which Charles toured one inundated village. For Paul Harris, in the Daily Mail, it was "the most extraordinary royal procession the good folk of Muchelney have ever seen", given the prince "arrived in the reluctant island community... by police launch on a mile-long voyage from the mainland, along what used to be a road".

For the Daily Telegraph's Gordon Rayner, the Prince's visit "gave a much-needed boost to communities who feel that the authorities in London who have failed to protect their interests are 'a million miles away'". However, the Independent's Jamie Merrill finds locals complaining that they get "no respite from the flood of royals, media and ministers", quoting one as saying: "The media is more of a bother than the water."

The cartoonists enjoy the sight, with the Mail's Mac imagining the prince waterskiing through someone's living room and Paul Thomas, of the Daily Express, picturing Charles on a boat, surrounded by other vessels, asking: "Do you moor here often?"

Dave Brown, in the Independent, prefers to imagine David Cameron lowering the prince from a helicopter, with the announcement: "We're doing everything practical... deploy the Canute."

However, the Express predicts little respite for the rain-soaked south west, suggesting that 100mph gales will batter the coast, with gusts up to 70mph inland, bringing with them up to 2in (5cm) of rain.

Booze up

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A day after David Cameron trumpeted a U-turn that could allow pubs to open late when screening England matches during this year's football World Cup, the Sun complains of "beer faced cheek" on the part of the government for planning to bring in minimum alcohol pricing.

"Just what is the government thinking?" wonders the Star, adding rather optimistically: "It will massively impact on the fun this nation is due as the Three Lions roar to glory."

For media executive Sue Douglas, reviewing the papers for the BBC News Channel, it's "fiddling while Rome burns". She said: "Binge drinking [among] kids, that's the bigger issue." Daily Telegraph media writer Neil Midgley added: "Further down the story, it says only 1.3% of all alcohol sales will be affected."

The Daily Mail notes that even Conservatives "admitted it will have little impact on problem drinking", despite Lib Dem Home Office Minister Norman Baker's insistence that it will "stop the worst examples of very cheap and harmful drink".

And the Guardian describes it as a "puny gesture", before adding: "Cheap alcohol is so damaging that even this small reduction is projected to save 15 lives 500 hospital admissions and millions of pounds in the costs of alcohol-related crime".

Microsoft's 'safe pick'

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The Financial Times focuses on the installation of Satya Nadella as chief executive of Microsoft, saying the firm has "staked its future" on "cloud computing" by appointing the man who developed its software and platforms in this area.

Readers of the Independent are introduced to a "cricket and poetry-loving" new man at the top who says he learned much of his managerial style on his Hyderabad school oval.

The FT's Andrew Hill translates Nadella's opening memo to employees to tell readers "what he really meant". Thus, the new boss's opening gambit of "today is a very humbling day for me," becomes: "'Humility' is the appropriate tone for CEOs these days but, believe me, when I got the nod I was punching the air like [predecessor] Steve Ballmer on an adrenalin high."

However, the Guardian sees the "safe pick" facing huge challenges and sets out five already in his in-tray. They include sorting out a struggling Windows Phone mobile software business, turning around the loss-making Bing search engine and dealing with the new role of company founder Bill Gates.

Gates is to "return to the coal face" as adviser, giving up his chairman role, but "remains the most important man in the company", according to the Daily Telegraph. "By stepping back from the broad, time-consuming role of chairman, Gates will have the time to become the public visionary who once made Windows so dominant and who may yet do the same again".

Bitter end

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"A day of shocks," is how the Daily Mirror describes one that saw the sacking of Swansea City Michael Laudrup, in football, and the end of cricketer Kevin Pietersen's England career. Or, as the Sun puts it, it's a P45 for Laudrup and "KP45" for the flamboyant batsman.

The Mirror's Mike Walters brands the England and Wales Cricket Board "pathetic" for failing to explain why they were ending the career of a man who's scored more international runs for the country than any other. The Independent's Stephen Brenkley reads between the lines of comments about a "team ethic" to conclude: "England in general and the captain, Alistair Cook, in particular were simply not willing to put up with Pietersen's disruptive influence any longer."

As former England captain Mike Atherton - writing in the Times - notes, while there has been much conjecture about the difficulties in Pietersen's relationship with others in the England camp, "the dressing room code of honour" has prevented specifics becoming known.

One of Atherton's successors, Michael Vaughan, demands in the Telegraph that the ECB "provide a proper explanation", adding that there is "something terribly wrong with the team and coach if they cannot cope with a great player's quirks". However, another former skipper, Nasser Hussain, tells the Daily Mail: "It's sad that it has ended like this. But yesterday's events finally confirmed what many people have suspected for a long time: sometimes, being watchable just isn't enough."

It's left to cricket writers to sum up Pietersen's contribution to the game. The Guardian's Mike Selvey writes: "What is certain is that watching the England team will be less fun than it has been at times. Until his emergence as an international in 2005 cricket had never seen a batsman quite like him and for the last eight years is has been an exhilarating experience watching him bat."

And Simon Barnes, in the Times, remembers how instead of batting for a draw against Australia in the Oval test of 2005, "Pietersen risked the entire Ashes series... when he launched into a demented full-out assault on the Australia bowling" to score 158, secure the series and set England on the road to becoming the world's best side.

"It wasn't just that he scored centuries for England. It was that he scored centuries that destroyed opponents and changed the course of cricketing history, and he did it again and again."

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