Does Camilla s epic devotion to Charles really deserve a queendom?
April 7, 2023 11:36 AM
Less than a month from now, Charles will be crowned King and Camilla will be his Queen. Whichever way you look at it or feel about them as a couple, the journey through the years that has brought them to this point has been astounding, Mail Online reported.
No Hollywood scriptwriter would dare put it on paper, no cinema-goer would ever believe it. For despite everything that life, death and the suffocating weight of monarchy has thrown at them, they have endured.
Looking at them now, in the sunset of their years, it is easy to forget that underneath the gentility and the grey hair beats one of the most passionate love stories of the age.
The star-crossed pair met in 1970 and were photographed by a polo field two years later. As they talk under the shade of that giant oak, you can sense something is going on — and so it turned out to be.
This dashing young prince could have had his pick of the aristocracy, yet chose the married wife of an Army officer. A man not only known and liked by the Royal Family, but a man who had also been a pageboy at Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation. Awks.
Even this did not deter the lovers, who embarked on the perilous affair that would later emotionally crush Charles’s virgin bride, scandalise a nation and lead to the mortification of the Tampax tapes and beyond.
As the years go by, this deepening relationship causes havoc, but like Dr Zhivago and Lara, they just cannot give each other up.
It leads to divorce on both sides and ultimately, in the history books at least, has a propulsive role in the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Or at least it did, however unfairly, in the eyes of many. At this point, and in the mourning that followed, some couples would have called it quits. Enough is enough, they might have concluded, asking themselves whether the candle was worth the burn of the flame.
Charles and Camilla could have retired to the comfort of their separate country estates, thence to bottle damsons, talk to the flowers and count their blessings.
Like Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter, they could have parted at the train station of fate, never to meet again.
But that is not what happened, for Charles and Camilla are testament to the power of what men and women can store up in their hearts.
They even dared to get married in Windsor in 2005, which took some nerve. I remember there were real worries they would get booed when they appeared outside St George’s Chapel after the blessing. And how Camilla’s golden Philip Treacy hat echoed the shape of a crown — a sly promise of her future status.
Camilla as Queen? Surely that could not happen? Eighteen years ago we were promised it never would, perhaps in an act of penitence which acknowledged the adulterous roots of their relationship and the pain it had caused to others.
For Camilla to be queen was to suggest that Diana was just collateral damage on this mutual route to the throne, yet here we are.
Over the past year or so the public has had to get used to the idea of Camilla as queen incarnate, increment by increment, pronouncement after startling pronouncement.
We can be forgiven for feeling slightly duped, because it seems clear this is exactly what Charles wanted all along; that for him the idea of being a king without the woman he loves by his side as queen was unthinkable.
Perhaps they both feel they have been through so much together it is the least they deserve, and perhaps they are right.
Today he is totally twinkly grandpa while she is all cunningly corseted dresses and determinedly blonde hair, still as madly frosted as it was back at Charles’s first wedding. There, in the depths of the congregation at St Paul’s, she watched the man she loved marry someone else, God knows how that must have felt. Yet still she and he persevered.
Theirs was and is a grand obsession, one that sustained them through the worst of times.
Sometimes from infidelity the greatest fidelity emerges; sometimes loving someone isn’t the right thing to do but nothing can stop you doing it anyway; sometimes people just do the misguided thing, marry the wrong person — are they to be condemned for ever for the sin of being human?
Charles and Camilla found each other and could not give up each other and ultimately, they have to be given credit for their devotion.
Still, does the power of love really earn the former Mrs Parker Bowles the right to a queendom? For she is his lady. And he is her man. And whenever he reaches for her, she’ll do all that she can.
Good for her, but my question is, should it all add up to Camilla being called Her Majesty?
And perhaps the even bigger question, as the modern monarchy inches ever closer to irrelevance, is this: does it even matter any more?