Thursday, February 10, 2005

Prince Charles

The office of the Prince of Wales has announced that Prince Charles is going to marry Camilla Parker-Bowles in April. The marriage is to be a civil service and not through the Church of England. El Jefe is rather a royalist, so he wishes them well, but at the same time, he thinks this step is profoundly ill-advised.

The British public has never liked Camilla overmuch, and Prince Charles’ relationship with her has been positively a magnet for bad publicity. Now that Camilla is actually going to be part of the Royal Family, she is more tabloid-worthy then ever in the country that really invented the tabloid. Camilla will use the title “Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall” (in addition to being Prince of Wales, Charles is Duke of Cornwall). When Charles becomes King Charles III, Camilla will evidently be “Princess Consort,” and not Queen.

Interesting that Mrs. Parker-Bowles gets to be “Her Royal Highness.” The last person with a living spouse to marry this close to the British throne, Mrs. Simpson, cost her hubby his crown, and she was never a Royal Highness, having to remain content with being styled “Her Grace the Duchess of Windsor.” What’s the difference between the situations of Wallis Simpson and Camilla Parker-Bowles ? One big difference is that Edward VIII was never previously married…and, even so, he had to abdicate.

Evidently, Prince Charles has always loved Camilla, (great-granddaughter of Edward VII’s mistress Alice Keppel), and wanted to marry her to begin with, (1972), but delayed proposing to her just too long, possibly because of parental disapproval – so Camilla married an army officer. Given all the trouble that has followed the Prince’s hesitation, a thousand pities the marriage did not go forward at that time.

The Prince appears to be obtaining his heart’s desire, but this marriage is most unwise. King Charles will be Supreme Governor of the Church of England which generally frowns on the remarriage of divorced persons within the church. Where will this leave him with the church ?

Mrs. Parker-Bowles' former husband was an army officer, with whom she had two children. All during this marriage, the Prince, who is a British Army Lieutenant-General, a Royal Navy Vice- Admiral, and is colonel-in-chief of numerous regiments and other formations in various Commonwealth military forces – was evidently the lover of Mrs. Parker-Bowles. When the Prince becomes King, he will be the commander in chief. Certainly, affairs happen, and the rules for royalty are different, but still, how does it look for a Lieutenant-General and future commander-in-chief to outright admit he took the wife of a junior officer ?

Mind you, El Jefe is not a prude, and understands that affairs and remarriages happen. Normally, this would not occasion much comment, but Prince Charles is PRINCE Charles, soon to be a king, and the rules are different for him. Everyone knows the score with this relationship, but appearances still matter, particularly for kings.
It would have been far better for things to continue on as they were – Camilla as the established girlfriend/mistress, (an accepted position in a royal household) and not an actual member of the family. Prince Charles is setting himself, his wife-to-be and the thousand year old institution to which he is heir and of which he is in the end only the custodian, up for a terrible fall, which will be a disaster for Britain. This marriage will provide years of fodder for both the tabloids, and the British republican movement (both of which El Jefe much disapproves of). If Prince Charles is determined to go through with this marriage, he should seriously consider renouncing his rights to the Crown.
UPDATE: In response to the comment of Anonymous, below, perhaps I have been a trifle hard on HRH and Mrs. Parker-Bowles. I certainly do not wish them any personal unhappiness whatever, although things being what they are, I suspect they will both drink that cup to the dregs, although El Jefe hopes not. Personally, I view their situation with a great deal of sympathy. How often does the fairy-tale prince give up the fairy-tale princess for somebody he really loves ? But that’s here nor there.

Certainly, as Anonymous recognizes, I am indulging to a degree in double standards, but not based on the sex of the parties. El Jefe admits up front that he writes as a royalist, who wishes to protect the British monarchy. I did not fail to apply “the same social indiscretions” to Prince Charles because he is a man, but rather because he is a Royal Highness.

If Charles were anybody else, his marriage would not be cause for comment today. But Charles is a prince, heir by birth to something of which he is only the temporary custodian, a monarchy almost a thousand years old. To me that implies an obligation on his part not to damage his inheritance. That’s how he pays for being a Royal Highness. If a little hypocrisy protects the monarchy, so much the better. The Prince’s and Mrs. Parker-Bowles personal happiness and moral standing with God are their personal concerns. Were it the case that Mrs. Parker-Bowles was the princess and Charles the commoner, I would indulge the double standards in her favor. Yes, this is all very un-politically correct, un-egalitarian, etc., etc., etc., but that’s just me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

El Jefe Maximo, while I agree with you whole-heartedly on most subjects I do not entirely agree with you on this one. If you will recall, King David in the Bible did basically the same, only on a more drastic level. He had the husband sent to the front lines to be killed so he could have his wife.

Prince Charles has been divorced but being a man do the same social indiscretions not apply to him? Why should she continue to “live in sin” because she has been divorced? Because she is a she and it is o.k. for he???