I do not follow royal events as I am neither a royalist, nor a republican. Rather, I take people at face value but I do not suffer fools gladly. I am a woman who loves life and wants everyone else to love life. I do not break the law, write protest letters to MPs or chalk slogans on walls. However, there are some things that happen in royal circles with which I can relate, and I feel that as a UK ‘commoner’ I must speak out.
The question of whether Prince Charles should be King or whether Prince William should take the throne instead has been much explored in the media. It is a real humdinger of a story and of course headlines must be made so the issue raises its head in the media many times over the year. This will of course continue until the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Charles, with his many perceived blunders (though I do not necessarily agree that his right to free speech means he commits blunders each time he exercises it) is a prime target and he has delighted the media with something to write about on many occasions. However, nothing in the royal household has captured the media attention so much as his affair with Camilla, except perhaps, the tragic death of the much loved Princess Diana.
Diana’s arch enemy, Camilla, who it is fair to say had an effect on her marriage to Prince Charles, had occupied the prince’s heart for a long time before she entered the marriage arena, and the press castigated the two lovers, rightly or wrongly for it. Whilst Charles and Camilla were married to different partners, conducting their affair as secretly as they could, until exposed by the media by sneaky and sometimes downright illegal methods, some members of the public, upon reading or hearing about it over their breakfast porridge, sanctimoniously condemned them out of hand, leading to the question still mooted in the press today, “Should Charles be King?”
I have a problem with that, not that adultery is or should be acceptable (though the world knows it happens all the time and being a divorcee I know this first hand), but that the reason for their adultery was in plain sight to the world before it ever happened. It is impossible that anyone could have believed (at the time) that no-one imagined the affair would not continue once he married Diana. Camilla had married someone else knowing that as she was known not to be ‘virginal’ she would never be accepted as a suitable wife for the heir to the throne because of the out-dated attitudes of the monarchy, and government. Charles loved Camilla, and their relationship was well established, and apparently very strong, for whatever reason and any of which the public did not need to know about. Love is all powerful and it will not be quashed if it is genuine. For Charles and Camilla it obviously was or it would not have lasted. Having a compatible companion is something everyone dreams about. A compatible physical relationship is a wonderful thing to enjoy, and it is important in all relationships. It should not have been the source of scandalous revelations in the media. Are you ready to reveal all about your sex life to the press? Who would want to know? Why did we need to know what happened between Charles and Camilla in the bedroom, or on the telephone? Their sex life however it was conducted should always have remained private, as anyone has a right to expect. At that time, Charles had effectively been forced to behave as he did. It is no good saying ‘he should not have done it’. He is a man and like every member of the human race, he is not perfect. If you have a son, consider this; would you ask your son to give up a woman when you know how much he loves, wants and needs her? I hope not! If I had a son I would not be so callous. I would never ask my daughters to do likewise with the men they love. Being ‘royal’ does not change anything.
What is ‘royal’ anyway? The Oxford Concise Dictionary has a long list of meanings but in the context of ‘the royal family’ it states “collq. A member of the royal family.” That still does not explain what ‘royal’ is, only what it takes to ‘be considered royal’. Since its inception in the dark ages, the royal family has been chopped and changed so many times that its history is as chequered as a chess board. There are good and bad Kings and Queens all down its illustrious line. These days ‘royalty’ is synonymous with ‘rich’, ‘public’, ‘tradition’, ‘diplomacy’ and politics. There is still a monarchy in the UK only because the English population did not emulate the French and so brutally dispense with it. It was a horrible thing for the people to do, as was the shooting of the Tsar and his family. I imagine that if we ever did collectively decide to dispense with the British monarchy, we would do it in a much more civilised way and without bloodshed. The queen has one foot in parliament, even if it is superficial since she cannot rule ‘absolutely’. As I said, I am neither a royalist, nor not so, but I think the country benefits economically and historically from having a monarchy so I know without doubt I would support keeping the monarchy if it ever came to a public vote. However, I view the members of the royal family in much the same way as I view everyone else who catches the media attention. I either decide to like them or not. As it happens I admire Charles and Camilla for their steadfastness to each other. A lot of relationships do not last as long these days.
All that I have read over the years suggest that Charles and Camilla had something special. Why should Camilla have been forced to stand aside for someone that Charles could not have given the necessary priority in his heart? His reply, “Whatever in love means” to the question, “Are you in love?” when the engagement was announced, told me at the time, and probably millions of other television viewers, that he most certainly was not “in love” with Diana. Diana’s coy “Of course!” was also a public admission that she probably was not “in love” either, in my opinion. Hard as they tried, the ‘Look of Love’ was in neither of their faces on that day. I know what love is. If you know what love is, you will also know that you cannot hide love when it exists. They both seemed rather awkward at the announcement and their body language sent a clear message of this. It was clearly a staged event. A single loving glance shared between them would have rendered the reporter’s question unnecessary. Perhaps he knew too, and that is why he asked it?
The hypocrisy of expecting the King or Queen of any country to be virginal is beyond belief in this age of so called enlightenment and freedom (as it was when Charles and Diana married). Kings and queens, princes and princesses are above all else, people. They are not gods. They are not perfect. That is why Prince Charles should not have been forced into a marriage which was fated to fail before the banns were posted. We have laws about forced marriages in this land. Was this so different?
I am not blaming or excusing any one person, but The Establishment created this scenario. Requiring and ensuring virginity might have been acceptable 500 years ago, but it is not necessary when the medical technology exists to ensure, or check paternity if there is ever a doubt about right of succession, which is probably what the concern was at the time. Why can members of the royal family not just be people? Why do they have to pretend that they are any different to the people they serve? They do a job. That is why we taxpayers still fund them.
Charles’ son, Prince William is fortunate in that he has married Kate, a so called commoner, the lady he loves. I hope their marriage lasts a lifetime, and that they are always happy. If the marriage fails, it will be something for them to deal with, not the media, as happens in real life. He made his own decision about marriage. His father should also have had that right. It was morally wrong to deny him the right to choose his lifelong companion when it mattered most, when he was young enough to build his life possibly with children borne out of love for the woman he had chosen. I am glad he has William and Harry of course. Instead, if you believe all the post wedding hype, especially after the death of Diana, he was pressurised into marrying a young woman who was chosen probably for no other reason than because she had kept herself ‘tidy’ so that she could marry a prince. It is a horror story! How could a ‘tidy’ young lady ever hope to satisfy a (by then) sexually experienced young man? Agony aunts drool about sexual intimacy and ‘learning together’. Was Diana to seek advice about how to satisfy the young prince before she married him? What an embarrassing introduction to marriage!
Please can we stop this ridiculous nonsense about whether Prince Charles is good enough or has a right to be King? He is, by all that is legal, the rightful heir to the throne. Queen Elizabeth has been a dutiful and impressive queen, and every royalist loves her. I have no personal feelings about her but she, and the people who dictate the attributes of the monarchy enshrined in the British Constitution do need to understand the age in which we live. Prince Charles is an impressive man in his own right and he has done many wonderful things for the people of Great Britain. I have no doubt he will be a great King. I am sure that the Queen as a mother would want the best for her son, as any other mother would. History will no doubt rate her as highly as any other female monarch, but when she dies, the right of succession has already been dictated by law. Charles WILL and SHOULD be King. When he is King of England Camilla will, by right of being Charles’ wife, be a queen. Get over it! No one person in this country has the right to judge another except when the law has been broken. Loving someone is not a crime. It is human nature. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. We should be focusing on this future kings’ strengths and leave him to deal with his weaknesses as we are expected to deal with our own.
Is it not time for a reality check? Charles has a life. Let him live it, and when it becomes necessary, as King of England! Is that not why the inhabitants of this great island rejoiced when he was born?
If you feel strongly either way, leave a comment.
© VW Selburn 2015