Date Posted: 01-05-13
20 June 2012
Barely a day passes without the Duchess of Cambridge gracing the
pages of newspapers.
Her pretty face and svelte figure is the most ubiquitous image on any
newsstand. Online is also swamped with pictures of Britain’s latest icon.
Since her marriage to Prince William and her emergence as the newest,
most popular member of the Windsor “firm”, the ever smiling
Catherine-Middleton-that-was has been the favoured choice of editors.
She has become the must-have picture of the day.
The Daily Telegraph’s editor, Tony Gallagher, seems particularly keen on her. In a paper once renowned for its so-
called “posh totty”, Gallagher is obviously happy to present his readers with the poshest totty of them all.
I am not criticising his decision — though some of the images tend to be overly large — because I concede it doesn’t
affect the serious content he also publishes. I am merely pointing to a trend that his paper exemplifies.
It is important to see the Duchess’s celebrity in a wider context. The Queen’s Jubilee was regarded as a massive
success — except for the BBC, of course — and this was reflected in the polling which suggested that we republicans
are a decreasing minority.
The post-Jubilee retention of so many Union Flags and assorted bunting, partly to engender support for the England
football team in its Euro 2012 efforts, also has the effect of giving the capital a monarchist feel.
Then there was that somewhat surprising poll showing that Prince Charles, for so long an unpopular heir, will be
welcomed in the event of his taking the throne. I suspect that if people had been asked their views of his wife,
Camilla, they would have given her their blessing, albeit a reluctant one. Monarchy is, for the moment at least, on a
roll and newspapers are both reflecting it and enhancing it. That’s how media works.
I accept that newspapers, by their nature, are also much more interested in the here-and-now rather than in harking
back to the past. The compulsion to sell more copies, especially in this period of transition from print to screen, is
paramount. But the sudden obsession with the royal family in general, and the Duchess in particular, is significant
because it prompts a question: who has been erased from the royal story?
The answer, of course, is Diana, the Princess of Wales. Diana has been as effectively airbrushed from history as any
Soviet Politburo member who fell foul of Stalin. Indeed, there were few sightings of Prince William’s mother in the
proliferation of archived Buckingham Palace balcony scenes that featured in papers during the build-up to the
Jubilee. Editors clearly didn’t wish to conjure her memory.
On the South Bank, opposite the City, there is massive hoarding that covers a building under construction. It is an
enlarged image of a group of royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the wedding of Princess Anne and Mark
Phillips. Even that reminder of a royal embarrassment — the divorce of the Queen’s daughter — is preferred to
recalling that the late Lady Diana Spencer married H.R.H.Charles, The Prince of Wales on July 29th 1981.
The woman who was memorably said to be the People’s Princess is now persona non grata. It’s as if editors are
desperately keen to move on. Diana is old news now that a glamorous replacement has arrived. Even the Daily
Express, obsessed purveyor of conspiracy theories about the manner of her death, appears to have abandoned its
So the former Princess of Wales (and sales) has been deleted from the news agenda. The woman who so nearly
created a crisis for the monarchy, both during her life and immediately after, has been laid to rest by the newspapers.
At last, you might say.
Though Diana died in 1997, a set of special circumstances — such as her apparent hold on the imagination of
editors and the public, the contested nature of her death and the inappropriate response of the royal family to the
event — served to keep her in the headlines longer than anyone could have anticipated.
It is clearly over now, but it would be far-fetched to see this as either a conspiracy or a cynical PR initiative from the
Palace. Though the royal family’s aides would surely have impressed on journalists the constancy of the Windsor
dynasty, they would never have stooped to bad-mouthing Diana, mother of the heir to the heir.
More prosaically, it’s simply a case of life having moved on, while death does not. In truth, Diana’s effacement is down
to the oldest of all clichés – the passing of time.
(Roy Greenslade is Professor of Journalism, City University London, and writes a blog for the Guardian)
Much more powerful a scenario for me to interrupt by returning naturally and something I am sure that has
been of enormous relief to my boys as neither of them need reminding of Mummy via a news headline illustrated by yet
another photograph of me every anniversary of my birth and death! Though as the article says there is intense interest
in Catherine, this is not being allowed to expand to the volume of interest the Media all over the world showed in me,
which was at times quite absurd actually. William has shown already that too personal an intrusion focused on his wife
will incur his wrath and he will strike out at those responsible for them in order to protect his wife which is
With love from,
Date Posted 01-06-13
The Prince and the former Camilla Parker - Bowles, now his 2nd wife
H.R.H Dutchess of Cornwall met appropriately enough on the polo fields
near Windsor Castle in August of 1971. Camilla complimented him on his
mount and his prowess on the playing field. They chatted briefly that day
but people noticed how at ease they were in each other's company. A few
weeks later, one of the Prince's former flames Lucia Santa Cruz, told
Prince Charles that she had met the perfect girl for him and introduced
him formally to Camilla. For the rest of the evening they were glued to
each other's side.
Although the Prince had met and dated many beautiful women by this
time, he was intrigued by Camilla's down to earth manner and ease.
Camilla didn't seem awed by his presence, which was a breath of fresh air
for him. "Strange, but I never felt intimidated in his presence, never," she explained to a friend, "I felt from the
beginning that we were two peas in a pod. We talked as if we had always known each other."
Prince Charles had a lonely childhood. As a small child his mother once went off on a six month tour of the current
and former British colonies, leaving him alone with nannies. He was required to curtsy to his mother. Sensitive and
shy, at school he was bullied by the other children. Sent to Gordonstaun in Scotland to toughen him up, he instead
felt like it was a prison sentence, he was consistently bullied at the school. When he arrived at university; Trinity
College,Cambridge, he had very few close friends. The one person that he could talk to or count on was his great-
uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Earl of Burma, First Sea Lord and the last Viceroy of India. He would spend weekends
at his great-uncle's estate Broadlands, where his uncle would introduce him to suitable women, including his own
granddaughter Amanda Knatchbull. His great-uncle was the father that Prince Charles would have liked to have. He
gave his seal of approval to the relationship by allowing Charles to use Broadlands for weekends with Camilla.
Meanwhile Camilla was the motherly figure that the Queen could never be. That wasn't all that she gave him.
Apparently lessons in love-making were also in the cards. According to Tina Brown's biography of Diana, Princess of
Wales, Charles was not a good lover at this time. Camilla helped him to become more relaxed about sex.
The relationship was put on hold when Prince Charles shipped out in early 1973 as part of his duties in the Royal
Navy. He had also apparently decided that he wouldn't be getting married before he turned 30, which was not part of
Camilla's plans. While he told her that he loved her before he shipped out, he made no commitments. Although they
wrote to each other, the Prince pouring his heart out to her, Camilla became engaged to Andrew Parker-Bowles and
married him on July 4th 1973 in front of 800 guests. At this point in time, while Camilla was fond of the Prince, it was
Andrew that she loved.
Prince Charles was devastated by the news. There were even rumours that he was so distraught over the marriage
that he didn't attend, when the reality was that he'd had a prior engagement in his calendar for months. Over the next
several years, he dated a slew of eligible females, both suitable and unsuitable. He also started a relationship with a
woman named Jane Jenkins who lived in Canada. None of them were prepared to be the H.R.H. Princess of Wales,
not even Diana's elder sister Sarah who the Prince dated briefly. He even proposed to his cousin Amanda Knatchbull,
who turned him down. There was Dale, Lady Tryon, a jolly bouncy Australian nicknamed Kanga, who also had a
rather motherly relationship with Charles as well as being his lover but he couldn't forget Camilla. It was the death of
his great-uncle that brought Camilla back into the Prince's life. He was absolutely shattered. Despite the fact that she
was married now, with two children Tom and Laura, Camilla soon took up her old role as the Prince's confidante.
Soon they were seen together all over the place. It was the beginning of their 'second' affair. At the Queen Mother's
80th birthday party, they danced together all night, leading Charles's girlfriend at the time, Anna 'Whiplash' Wallace
to cause a scene. "Don't you ever, ever ignore me like that again! No one treats me like that, not even you." At one
ball, they were seen making out on the dance floor, leading Andrew Parker-Bowles to comment that "HRH is very fond
of my wife, and she appears fond of him."Andrew Parker-Bowles had his own extra-marital dalliances so it wasn't as if
he could throw stones.
In a strange twist of fate, it was also the death of his great-uncle that led to Charles relationship with Diana. Diana
was terribly sympathetic to the pain he had gone through. Diana seemed like the perfect girl. Sweet and, more
importantly, totally innocent. While she had a few boyfriends, she had been keeping herself neat and tidy for what lay
ahead. Ironically it was Camilla who encouraged Prince Charle's relationship with Lady Diana Spencer, mistakenly
thinking that she would be a malleable presence in the Prince's life. It was a mistake that she would learn to regret.
Still, in the initial days of the Prince's relationship with Diana, Camilla tried to befriend her. Her former brother-in-law,
Richard Parker-Bowles told Tina Brown that "she initially encouraged the relationship between Charles and Diana
because she thought Diana was gormless. Camilla never saw Diana as a threat, she thought that Diana was
someone she could manipulate." At the time, she was more threatened by Charles relationship with Kanga Tryon
than she was by Diana.
Diana, however, was not that stupid and quickly sussed out that Camilla had ulterior motives, although it took awhile
before she realized the real role that Camilla played in Prince Charles's life. After her wedding, Diana found a pair of
cufflinks that Camilla had given Prince Charles with the initials C. Allegedly Prince Charles valet, Stephan Barry who
was jealous of Diana, put the cufflinks out so that Diana could see them but even before the wedding, Diana was
suspicious. There was the story in the paper about Prince Charles and a blonde woman on the Royal Train before
the engagement. Diana always said that it wasn't her on the train. Was it perhaps Camilla? Than there was the gift of
a bracelet that Charles gave Camilla with the card from Fred to Gladys (their pet names for each other). He told
Diana that it was just a gift from one friend to another, but Diana didn't believe him. Diana also found photographs of
the two of them together in a book. Diana was so jealous that although she could do nothing about Camilla being
invited to the wedding, she made sure that she was not invited to the reception afterwards.
It is unclear exactly when Prince Charles and Camilla renewed their sexual relationship. In his famous interview with
Jonathan Dimbley, Prince Charles stated that their relationship was platonic until his marriage had 'irretrievably
broken down' which some authors point as to around 1987. Other states that Prince Charles and Camilla renewed
their relationship even sooner, perhaps as early as 1983 or 1984. Whenever it was, it soon became clear that the
Prince and Princess of Wales were fundamentally incompatible. Due to their age difference, they had little in
common. Prince Charles preferred country pursuits, Diana the city, Charles liked opera, blood sports and his
establishment friends, Diana loved pop stars and glamour. The only things they did have in common were feeling
damaged from their childhoods, raging insecurities, and an interest in alternative medicine and therapy. The more
popular Diana became, the worse their marriage. Prince Charles wasn't used to being overshadowed, and Diana did
nothing really to reassure him, just he did nothing to reassure her that she was doing a good job. The emotional hole
they both suffered from couldn't be filled by the other.
The pair were soon trysting secretly at the homes of their friends. Prince Charles effectively moved to his country
house at Highgrove, while Diana remained at Kensington Palace in London. For awhile it seemed everyone was living
some kind of French farce. The Parker-Bowles had moved from Bolehyde Manor to Middlewick which was
conveniently located 15 minutes from Highgrove. Camilla would serve as hostess for Charles at Highgrove, but all
traces of her would have to be removed before Diana arrived at the weekend. Even when Diana did deign to spend
time at Highgrove, Prince Charles would sneak out and tryst with his lover in the bushes, leaving his valet having to
come up with creative ways to remove grass stains.
At the 40th birthday party for Camilla's sister, Annabel Elliott, Diana confronted her rival, telling her that she knew
what was going on. Ugly rows ensued between the Prince and Princess of Wales. The Prince once told the Princess
angrily that he would not be the only Prince of Wales to not have a mistress! Unlike Princess Alexandra, Diana was
not about to sit by and allow another woman to steal her husband. She tried vainly to rekindle whatever spark had
been between her and the Prince in the beginning. Soon she gave up and turned to her own extramarital affairs
including James Hewitt and possibly Barry Manakee, her protection officer. While the Prince was dallying with Camilla,
Andrew Parker-Bowles had his own extramarital dalliances. The first hint that the public learned of their relationship
was when Charles and Camilla took a painting holiday together in Italy without their spouses. Then there were the
revelations in Andrew Morton's book: Diana: Her True Story (written with the full cooperation of the Princess).
Things would probably have gone on as they had been for years if it hadn't been for the release of the Camillagate
tapes. The breathless declarations of Prince Charles wishing that he could be Camilla's tampon, plus the lover's sex
talk of needing each other several times a day, which were recorded on prehistoric mobile phones in 1989 and
published first in Australia in the early party of 1993, both titillated and repulsed the nation. Suspicion on who taped
the Prince and his mistress fell at first on the Security Services or possibly an amateur ham radio operator who
recorded the calls. Once Andrew Parker-Bowles became known as the most famous cuckold in history, it was only a
matter of time before the he and Camilla divorced after 22 years of marriage.
Meanwhile, the Queen had had enough. After Diana gave her famous interview to Martin Bashir, she urged the
couple to divorce, paving the way for Prince Charles and Camilla to finally go public with their relationship. In 1996,
Prince Charles hired Mark Bolland to rehabilitate Camilla's image, a slow process that started with Camilla visiting the
US on behalf of the National Osteoprosis Foundation. In July of 1997, Prince Charles even felt comfortable throwing a
50th birthday party for his love at Highgrove. On August 31st 1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash
with her new male companion Dod al-Fayed. Overnight, the tide turned against Prince Charles and particularly
against Camilla. Camilla was literally trapped in her home. If she dared to venture out to do some shopping, she was
pelted with bread rolls or cursed at. The harassment got so bad that Prince Charles had a protection officer assigned
to her. Any hope that they had of the nation finally accepting their relationship seemed to have ended.
There were other obstacles as well. The Queen asked Prince Charles to publicly make a statement that he was giving
up his relationship with Camilla. Charles refused, as far as he was concerned Camilla was non-negotiable. In the
spring of 1998, he even took the first step of finally introducing Camilla to Prince William. Camilla, of course, was
understandably nervous. However, the meeting seemed to go well, although she did ask for a large Vodka tonic
afterwards. The next step, at least as far as Camilla was concerned was to get rid of Tiggy Legg-Bourke, the nanny to
the young princes. It was the one thing that Camilla and Diana had in common, their suspicion that the young woman
was more than just a nanny to the boys. In Diana's case, it was her jealously of her boys having a surrogate mother.
For Camilla, it was the idea that she might be replaced with a younger, prettier, more acceptable model.
Another obstacle, besides public opinion, was the Queen Mother. Her grandson's relationship with Camilla was a little
too reminiscent of the Duke of Windsor's with Wallis Warfield Simpson. The former Edward VIII put love before duty to
the nation, leaving his younger brother ill-prepared for his role as King. The strain of the job, and the second World
War sent the king to an early grave, or so it seemed to his widow. Bertie and Elizabeth had given up their dream of a
normal life to take on the role of King and Queen, despite their personal feelings. The Queen Mum was appalled that
her grandson, not to mention the late Princess, had put their own feelings before their duty to the crown. She refused
to meet Camilla or even to have her name mentioned in her presence. As long as she was alive, Prince Charles
would never have taken the chance at losing his grandmother's respect by marrying Camilla. The Queen followed suit.
It was not until the Queen Mum's death at the age of 101 in 2002, that relations between the House of Windsor and
Camilla began to thaw. Camilla slowly began to appear in public again. At first, the photo opportunities were carefully
staged, Camilla and Charles sharing a kiss on the cheek, Camilla and Charles taking a trip to Italy together, Camilla
being invited to the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Queen's coronation.
Finally after years of speculation, the Palace announced in February of 2005 that the Prince and Camilla Parker
Bowles would be married in April of 2005. What finally provoked the Prince to pop the question? The wedding of
Edward van Cutsem to Lady Tamara Grosvenor. While both Prince Charles and Camilla were invited, they were not
going to be seated together. The Prince was tired of not having Camilla treated as his companion, the woman in his
life. He declined to attend the wedding. The time had come to make Camilla his wife. There was a sense of relief in
the establishment that the thing was finally going to be done. It cleared up Camilla's rather ambiguous role in the
Prince's life, (they were already living together at Clarence House and at Highgrove although Camilla also maintained
for awhile her own country house) and there was also the matter that the Prince was supporting her to the tune of
$250,000 year for clothes, grooming, botox, protection officers, some of which came from tax-payer money. Camilla
had her teeth whitened to the tune of $10,000 (it costs a lot to get rid of those tobacco stains!), botox to smooth her
wrinkles and fine lines, chemical peels, her hair professionally dyed (Camilla, like Diana, was more of a mousy
blonde), designer clothes replaced her mumsy outfits, all befitting her new role as consort to the Prince. She even
took over the redecorating of Clarence House after the Queen Mum's death, although Charles paid for the changes
to her suite out of his own pocket, costing him around $2MM.
The announcement that Camilla would be known not as the Princess of Wales, which automatically became her title
on her marriage to Prince Charles, but as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall did a great to deal to make the idea of the
marriage palatable to the general public. Still there were many people who were not happy about the marriage,
including several prominent clergymen. But the general public at large seemed finally to accept that this was the
woman the Prince loved and wanted to share the rest of his life with. The approval of the two Princes also went along
way to smoothing things over. Once again, the Prince declined to have his future wife sign a pre-nuptial agreement,
preferring to go on faith that the marriage will last. He also set up a $20MM trust fund for Camilla, which gives her an
income of $600,000 a year. In the event of her death, the money returns to the Prince's family.
The wedding took place on Saturday April 9, 2005 (postponed by a day so that the Prince could attend Pope John
Paul II's funeral) at the registry office in Windsor, followed by a blessing at St. George's Chapel Windsor. The press
speculation leading up the wedding made it appear as if the whole thing were falling apart, the Daily Mail being the
most awful in their press coverage. Instead the wedding went off without a hitch, although for a moment it looked as if
Camilla's headdress would blow off her head. During the blessing the Prince and his new bride were obliged to read
an act of contrition as it were for their previous behavior. While the Queen didn't attend the civil ceremony, she was
at the blessing and gave a gracious toast to the newlyweds at the reception.
Although it can be hard to get past the fact that their relationship caused a great deal of pain to a lot of people, least
of all themselves, one can't help admiring the fact that after almost forty years, they still love one another and they
make each other happy. Camilla does not have the movie star good looks or the common touch that Diana
possessed but everyone who comes into contact with her remarks upon her warmth, her wit, and her compassion. As
his wife Camilla doesn't overshadow the Prince as with Prince Philip, H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh and her father-in-law,
Camilla knows her place is to support Prince Charles as Philip's is supporting his wife; H.M The Queen. It is easy to
speculate on what might have been if Charles and Camilla had married when they first fell in love, but they didn't.
There would be no William or Harry, no Tom and Laura Parker Bowles for one thing
Comparisons have been made between Camilla and the Duchess of Windsor. While Wallis Simpson was denied the
honor of H.R.H., Camilla was given the title by the Queen. The differences come down to the fact that while Wallis was
a twice divorced North American who seemed grasping and ambitious, Camilla came from the British aristocracy and
she never sought to be the wife of the H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, content to love the Prince behind the scenes but
H.R.H.Prince Charles was adamant that Camilla be openly and candidly accepted publicly as his 2nd wife and the
woman he loves.