JAN MOIR: Does Camilla’s epic devotion to Charles really deserve a queendom?
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.
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.
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
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.
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. Pictured: Charles and his wife Camilla following their marriage at The Guildhall, at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005
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?
Before the big freeze: Meghan Markle and Jessica Mulroney at the World Vision event held at Lumas Gallery on March 22, 2016
Honestly. When will Harry and Meghan make up their minds? Are they coming to the Coronation or not? Have they booked their tickets to travel pariah class on Leper Airways, and plan to turn up at Westminster Abbey for the full Petulance Experience in their self–appointed roles as sulkers–in–chief? Or will they stay home in the Costa del Huff?
The suspense is killing — as in killingly hilarious. Especially as Harry believes that Persona Non Grata, as inscribed on his Coronation invitation, means someone who doesn’t like grated cheese on his pasta.
Perhaps, like rock acts negotiating an appearance at Glastonbury, Harry and Meghan are still settling terms with the Palace. No to being positioned behind a pillar in the Abbey, yes to the reception afterwards. No to being third on the bill and a definite no–no to curtseys.
This is because Meghan believes the practice to be a medieval construct designed to oppress women. Unless women are curtseying to her — in which case, fine.
Speaking of which, it is simply marvellous that Meghan is to receive a humanitarian award — from her unlikely friend Gloria Steinem — for empowering women and girls. Yes, the very existence of Meghan must have enriched the lives of many easily impressed females, but it does not seem to have been every woman’s experience.
There have been claims (strongly denied) of crushed Palace staffers; a humiliated Queen; the attempted demeaning of the Princess of Wales; the sudden icing of former best friend Jessica Mulroney; the dismissal of her half– sister, Samantha . . .
It seems that some women, at least, have felt less than uplifted by their interactions with Meghan.
Rupert Murdoch gave his new fiancée a diamond the size of a walnut, then split from her two weeks later.
What? There’s a bunch of daffs on my kitchen table that has outlived the couple’s passion.
Reports suggest born-again Christian Ann Lesley Smith was ‘too evangelical’ for Rupert. Maybe at the age of 92, the media mogul just wants a quiet life. Fair enough, but will Ann Lesley keep her £2 million engagement ring? Surely a woman of such deep faith would hand it back, even if she felt she had earned it already.
Pictured: Rupert Murdoch arriving at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California on February 22, 2015
Barge accommodation has been confirmed for male asylum-seekers — and, of course, instantly denounced as grotesque and cruel by the usual suspects.
Yet we can’t keep putting people up in hotels at taxpayers’ expense — it is economically unviable in both the long and short term. The situation cannot continue and it is not racist or inhumane to say so. Yet on Newsnight, Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council wrung his hands in despair at these suggestions and insisted that everyone deserved to be treated with respect. Agreed — but he also hoped these 500 barge-bound young men could be ‘absorbed into the community’ instead.
Well, in an ideal world, that would be marvellous — but which community and where? Answers came there none. Others of similar mind offer no solutions, only endless condemnation of government policy. Meanwhile, in the real world, everyone else understands that something has to be done.
A barracks on a barge is not an ideal situation — in fact, it looks like a tinderbox of trouble — but battling ministers trying to tackle the problem need to be given a chance.
Pictured: An Easter scene has been knitted on top of a post box in Midhurst, Sussex
Lots of postboxes around the country have been adorned with crocheted Easter toppers by fugitive crocheters in the community — isn’t that lovely and charming? NO IT IS NOT.
I want to be honest. These crochet-toppers look insane and unsightly, made at midnight by the unhinged — and I speak as someone who once knitted the entire Royal Family.
If you get a lot of pleasure and comfort from crocheting, then that is wonderful, but I don’t think your creations should necessarily be inflicted on the neighbourhood.
The charms of crafting are not infinite, you know. ASBOs all round for these woolly delinquents.
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