After 25 years, Camilla’s crowning glory is acceptance

Australians could be forgiven for barely noticing Camilla, Queen Consort’s rehabilitation. It’s understandable, the royal family has endured many a melancholy hour. These include the pomp and ceremony and mourning of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the insecurities of Harry and Meghan, the death of Prince Philip and the well-deserved shaming of Prince Andrew. And yet Camilla shines through.

“I walked away thinking, ‘I really like this person,'” says a former British tabloid editor of meeting Camilla two years after Diana’s death. Credit:Getty Images

In the 1990s, she was poison. A mistress spat on by other women in supermarkets. An adulterer who went into hiding after Prince Charles publicly admitted his infidelity. The third person described by Princess Diana on her BBC in 1995 panorama Interview when “there were three of us in this marriage”. The would-be “wicked stepmother” who William and Harry begged their father not to marry. For years, the divorced woman was ostracized by her future mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, and banished from the Queen Mother’s eyes.

It’s a royal truism that the more things change, the less they change. Charles and Camilla, the essence of modern royalty, are baby boomers raised in an upper-class world seemingly stranded in Evelyn Waugh’s interwar novels, where love lagged behind social circles and bloodlines.

It’s no wonder, then, that their sluggish, long extramarital affair was rocked in 1992 when a three-year-old taped phone call made front pages. Here the future King of England (and Australia) imagined being reborn as a tampon. The last time the English saw such public thoughts was at school reading John Donne’s 1633 poem The Escaped in which the blood of two illegal lovers is lyrically united through insect bites.


Both divorced their spouses, but Diana’s death in August 1997 created leeway for Camilla. And so began Operation PB (Operation Parker Bowles), codename for the PR campaign aimed at normalizing their relationship, winning over Charles’ future subjects and convincing his mother that Camilla could strengthen the royal family , instead of destroying them.

They were first seen publicly together at a family birthday party in Mayfair in 1999 and the following year the Queen ended her boycott when she attended a 60th birthday celebration for the exiled Greek monarch, King Constantine, at Charles’ home, Highgrove House. participated.

At the latest, however, Nick Bryant Good weekend Magazine, said a Gordian knot softened against marriage: a tangle of public resentment, royal protocol, ecclesiastical law, the risk aversion of the palace courts, and most importantly, the antipathy of the queen. It quickly dissipated. In 2002, the Church of England Synod voted to allow divorced spouses to remarry in the Anglican Church. The Queen Mother died that same year. Without her disapproving mother around, the queen’s position gradually softened. The couple married in 2005. Next month they will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary, three years longer than his first marriage.

The charm offensive intensified. There was good work, but perhaps most importantly, it dampened the anger of the tabloids by feeding the beast in return for good coverage. Bryant astutely notes that she has also benefited from being the most likable archetype of Britain’s upper class: the down-to-earth toff; the good sport that likes to laugh; the local community pillar with an ear for gossip; the epitome of the wartime motivational mantra, “Keep Calm and Carry On”. After 25 years, Camilla’s crowning glory is acceptance

Jaclyn Diaz

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