Camilla’s here to stay, folks

Picture of Camilla, Duchess of CornwallCharles and Camilla (as in, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, previously Parker-Bowles, for anyone who hasn’t been following that story intensely — not that I have, but it turns up like a bad penny in the British media every few months and I regularly get phrases about these things in my search engine terms) are back in the news again, with Charlie having said, in an interview with the American NBC channel, in response to a question as to whether Camilla will be crowned queen when he becomes king, “We’ll see won’t we? That could be”. This is a red rag to the herds of Lady Di’s old fans, who still seem to think she’s to blame for driving apart Charles’s and Di’s “fairytale marriage” and, no doubt, for Di’s death in 1997.

I’m not sure why they are so hostile to Camilla when she is far from being the only person who helped to drive apart Charles’s first marriage. The royal family prevented Charles from marrying Camilla in the 1970s, and his marriage to Di was later revealed to be “a sham from the outset”. It was not Camilla who induced Charles to embark on that marriage; it was the Queen and Prince Phillip. The marriage should never have happened in the first place, but that was in the time when marriages had to be “proper” and were meant to produce heirs rather than be about love. That’s not so much the case now that the unhappy marriages and public scandals these arrangements produce is well-known.

In an apparent sop to Lady Di’s fans, Camilla is known as Duchess of Cornwall (and not HRH or anything similar) rather than Princess of Wales, even though she actually has that title. When Charles becomes king, the rule is that Camilla automatically becomes queen, whether they crown her as such or not. There is the added complication of some believing that his marriage to a divorcée is illegitimate, but as such marriages are quite legal in most of the world and it is the king or queen, not their consort, who is governor of the Church, her position is not compromised, and it has already been established in Parliament that the marriage is not “morganatic”, i.e. she will become queen (given her age, there is no question of there being any children from this marriage).

Pretty much every time the question comes up, a stream of hostility to Camilla comes up on radio phone-ins, with someone saying they won’t ever recognise her as queen. To their minds, Di, “the queen of hearts”, will always be Charles’s rightful consort. Well, she’s dead and she isn’t coming back, and at the time she died, she wasn’t living a miserable life but rather enjoying her romance with Emad “Dodi” al-Fayed. Di’s death may have been a tragedy but it was an accident, and Camilla is no more to blame than Charles is. It’s not 1997 anymore, all you Lady Di fanatics out there. Get over it.

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