I find it hard to believe I am writing this entry. Few people care less about royalty than I do. But there is something about this whole Charles-Camilla thing that deeply irks me. So I’m just going to get it off my chest.
Today Prince Charles wedded his sweetheart of thirty-five years, Camilla Parkers Bowles. You would think that people would be happy that after thirty-five years Charles is finally marrying the woman he loves. But you would be wrong. Most of the people I talk to who have an opinion about the future king of Great Britain are very anti-Camilla. I hear words like ugly. Dog faced. No Diana. She seems to be blamed for the breakup of Charles and Diana’s marriage. She’s perceived to be a home wrecker.
Maybe it’s just me but I don’t get it. First of all to call Camilla dog faced is really unkind. In fact she is not ugly at all. No, she does not have the good looks and grace of the late Princess Diana. Few women do. But one thing is for sure. Unlike the relationship Charles had with Diana, Charles truly loves Camilla. Not many of us would pursue the same woman for thirty-five years! If there is a scandal here it is that the unasked-for constraints imposed on future kings mean that many princes and princesses often have to marry people they do not love.
In fact the purpose of Charles marrying Diana had nothing to do with love. If love happened it was incidental. It had to do with an aging prince being prodded by mother to marry so the monarchy would be around for future generations. To be blunt what the future king of Great Britain needed was a virgin. And not to impugn the character of English women, but hot looking and poised virgins from upper crust families are not exactly in great supply. Why this obsession with virginity? Apparently in the days before DNA testing could establish parentage, having a virgin bride was the only way to ensure the royal genes were carried on to the next generation. There was also the obvious concern that the king or queen would not contract sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, which was quite common through much of human history.
Camilla, alas, failed to qualify in the virginity department. Charles spent three years dating her and wanted to marry her, but she was off the list of royal marriage partners because she was not a virgin. Also, apparently there were concerns that her blood wasn’t blue enough. Charles could either be a future king and marry a proper British virgin, or could abdicate, marry the woman he loved, disown pretty much everything he knew, and earn the lifelong antipathy of British citizens. What a Hobbesian choice.
When he went into the Royal Navy without proposing to Camilla, she decided to marry Andrew Parker Bowles instead. But apparently the love Charles and Camilla had for each other was stronger than their marriages. In Charles’s case, Charles and Diana not only slept separately, they spent most of their marriage living apart from each other. It seems odd to the rest of us that a woman as beautiful, intelligent, poised and talented as the late Princess Diana would be so spurned by her own husband. What it amounted to was that Charles didn’t love Diana. He loved Camilla. And so there were the affairs as each side tried to be people they were not and tried to project love they were not feeling.
The impression I get of Prince Charles is that he is not a man of much depth. Yes, he is a fairly superficial and shallow person. I don’t hold it against him. That’s just the way he is. In that sense being married to a woman of charm and grace like Diana was the equivalent of trying to put a square peg in a round hole. And perhaps that is the cause of the hostility toward Charles and Camilla by much of the British people. Charles tried but just couldn’t play the script he was given. He loved another woman.
And now finally thirty-five years later, with the royal genes passed on in the proper manner to Harry and William, he is now officially married to the woman of his dreams. Camilla may not be glamorous but clearly Charles dotes on her, and Camilla loves Charles. So why aren’t more people happy? Why all the hostility?
How many of us have to spend thirty-five years waiting to marry the person they love? Of course on the grand scheme of things their relationship is nothing but a piffle. But on a minor scale it is something of a personal tragedy.
I would hope that Charles’s future subjects might take this opportunity to consider that their sovereigns are human beings like anyone else. They should not have to go through life projecting a false version of themselves because of hundreds of years of tradition. Why put special constraints on any human being on who they may or may not marry? This is not the 12th century. A simple DNA test can confirm parentage if that really matters, which it does not.
Charles actually has my sympathy. I feel for him being under the thumb of his snooty mother Queen Elizabeth. Here is a guy pushing sixty and he still has to kowtow to his mother. And his mother, who should love him, can’t be bothered to attend her own son’s civil wedding. Her coolness toward Camilla is well known. Rather than celebrate a marriage that is so obviously right for both of them she looks down her long royal nose at her own son for not being quite the prince she wanted him to be.
Camilla is no Princess Diana but she is not ugly. If my wife looked like she does at age 57 I would be more than content. Let’s face it women who are attracted to Charles are not attracted to him because of his good looks. I hope now that Charles and Camilla are finally married they can enjoy many years of bliss together that were needlessly denied them. But somehow I suspect that as long as Queen Elizabeth is alive it will be anything but that. So I salute Camilla for her courage in marrying Charles in spite of his weird and dysfunctional family. Most women would have to say no to dealing with such weird and toxic in-laws. That Camilla would stand for it suggests she loves Charles for the person he truly is. And actually I salute Charles too for marrying the woman he loves even though his mother disapproves. It doesn’t seem like courage but in the weird world of the royal monarchy what he did required a lot of courage.
I would recommend that in order for the happy couple to stay happy they should spend as much time as possible together and as far away as possible from the Queen.