Spiteful Champions

Imagine, dear reader, that you are settling down to watch a romantic film, or read a romantic book. The plot is a fairly unremarkable love story, that goes something like this.

Our hero falls in love. The object of his affections is not thought by many to be especially beautiful, but nevertheless, she captures his heart. He also captures the heart of our heroin. But although they love each other, various circumstances mean that they cannot marry.

Time passes, and our unfortunate lovers are forced to accept the reality of their position. So our heroin marries and has two children. Then our hero marries a much more beautiful woman, who gives him two children.

Both marriages, though, are, if not loveless, certainly love deficient. Our hero’s wife is unfaithful, as is our heroin’s husband.

Eventually, both couples separate, and our hero and heroin resume those happy relations that had been cut off years before. Divorces follow, leaving them free to marry should they wish. After some years, they do, and can be content together for their remaining years.

As I said, an unremarkable story, but one with the “Aww” factor. Unremarkable, that is, until one considers that it was not fiction dragged from my imagination, but part of the life stories of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

It isn’t known exactly why the then Prince Charles was prevented from marrying Camilla Shand. One suggestion is that the Queen Mother wanted him to marry a Spencer, as one of her best friends was a member of that family. Another is that the Prince’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, wanted the heir to the throne to marry his granddaughter. Whatever the reason, we do know that, in 1973, while the Prince was away on naval duties, the marriage took place between Camilla Shand and the dashing army officer, Andrew Parker Bowles. Incidentally, the novelist, Jilly Cooper, is said to have partially based her character, the heartthrob and cad, Rupert Campbell-Black on Parker Bowles.

And of course, we all know the story of Prince Charles’ disastrous marriage to Lady Diana Spencer. We have heard about the infidelities on both sides, and many of us will remember the separation, the gutter press publishing details of recordings of private phone conversations, the television interviews, the divorce, and finally the tragedy of Diana’s death in Paris in 1997. The Parker Bowles’ divorce in 1995 was another episode in the drama, albeit a slightly less exciting one as far as members of the gutter press were concerned.

Most people will also remember the opprobrium heaped upon the Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles, especially during the 1990s. Fortunately, this diminished over time, and by keeping her head down, and doing what has been asked of her without fuss, especially since their marriage in 2005, we reached the point where Queen Camilla is almost universally accepted, even if she isn’t universally loved. Almost.

So why am I raking over these old coals? Blame social media. Last Saturday evening, in amongst all the Facebook and Twitter posts about the moving coronation service, the splendour of the procession, the brilliance of the horses, and the occasional complaint about the expensive flummery that goes with hereditary monarchies, I read a number of statements to the effect that as far as their authors were concerned, Diana is “the real Queen”. This is both nonsensical and cruel.

It is nonsensical for two reasons. Firstly, and most obviously, she is dead. A dead woman cannot be crowned. Secondly, as mentioned above, she and the then Prince Charles were divorced. From the moment that the decree absolute was granted, she was never going to be, could never be, Queen.

It is not any a cruel thing to say about the Queen, and by extension the King, but about Diana too. In her now infamous television interview, Diana stated that, “there were three of us in this marriage”. She was right. Contrary to her deluded champions, Diana was not the victim. She was a victim. One of three victims. Neither she, nor Charles, nor Camilla were happy. They were all the victims of people behind the scenes. To wish that Diana had been crowned last Saturday instead of Camilla, is to have wished at least another thirty years of dreadful unhappiness on those three dreadfully unhappy people.

Rather than carrying on their spiteful vendetta on behalf of a woman they have never met, against a woman they will never meet, these people should rejoice in the fact that, although it didn’t happen until middle age, the King and Queen have finally been able to be together and happy. How many people can honestly say the they are with the loves of their lives? Not many. But luckily for them, those two can.

One response to “Spiteful Champions”

  1. <

    div dir=”ltr”>I really enjoyed this post. I had not heard comments such as the ones to wh

    Liked by 1 person

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