One of the guilty pleasures of we here in the former colonies is delighting over the foibles of our former rulers, the British royal family. And foible they do.
Last month, Prince Harry was all over the tabs for wearing a Nazi armband to a party. And this month, his father, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, announced that he is getting married to his longtime lover, the stoic and much-abused Camilla Parker Bowles. He is 56; she, 57.
It is in many ways a rather touching love story, beginning in the very early 1970s, when Camilla uncorked on Charles one of the great all-time pickup lines: “My great-great-grandmother was your great-great-grandfather’s mistress, so how about it?”
But Charles went off to sea and she married someone else. In 1981, Charles married Princess Diana in one of the century’s most celebrated weddings. The wedding may have been great but the marriage wasn’t, and Charles took up with Camilla, whom Di rather ungraciously called a Rottweiler. Indeed, Di herself had taken up with several others.
Camilla divorced in 1995; Charles in ’96 – Shakespeare should have been around to write this stuff – and Princess Di died in a car wreck in 1997.
Many Brits still had it in for Camilla, whom they blamed for wrecking the marriage of the much younger and prettier Di. She was vilified, her appearance ridiculed, and once was pelted with rolls in a supermarket. There was the additional indignity of the British public being regularly polled on the propriety and desirability of her relationship (generally a three-way tie among yes, no and don’t care) with Charles.
Camilla and Charles appeared more and more often in public together; eventually she moved into his palace; and on Friday, April 8, everything’s going to be made legal in a civil ceremony _ although one blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury – at Windsor Castle.
Camilla will become HRH the Duchess of Cornwall – assuming Diana’s old title of princess of Wales really would have been pushing it – and if Charles ever becomes king, she, in a bow to public opinion, will not become queen but, rather, princess consort.
We across the pond wish the happy couple all the best; we look forward to their first visit as a couple to the United States; and, most of all, it makes us really glad we won the Revolutionary War.
(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)SHNS.com)