Summer Daze
Walking the dogs after the rains. 1:20 PM. Photo: JH.

A lotta heat, some thunderstorms brought rain yesterday morning, leaving the temperatures a little more bearable and the sky mainly overcast.

Royal Birdwatching. On the anniversary of the 45th birthday of Diana, Princess of Wales, her former husband Charles and his new wife (and very old friend) Camilla, traveled to Northern France to honor the thousands who died for King and country in the Battle of the Somme ninety years ago. The prince and his duchess were reported by some observers to not look “happy.”

They had also appeared a few days earlier at a service honoring the recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross at Westminster Abbey, and evidently did not look terribly happy. But whoever looks happy in the Abbey or at a war memorial? Maybe they were just being solemn. Or tired. However, there were those who thought Camilla looked angry. Grrrr ...

Which leads to another nugget of pure unadulterated gossip: the Royal Twosome had a royal row at Highgrove where she was yelling and he was kicking a chair and then picked up a priceless piece of china and smashed it. (Don’t worry, there’s more where that came from.)

Which reminds me: I once had neighbors across the alley, also a newly married couple who did that one night. Smashed the china. You’d hear her yell: “And this is from your aunt Marge ...!” SMASH! Then he’d shout: “And this is from your bitch of a mother!” SMASH!

It went on like that for a good fifteen minutes. They must have destroyed every one of their wedding presents. While we sat by the window across the way, aching from laughter that we couldn’t stop. Most memorable was the aftermath: the sound of the china pieces sliding across the tiles, the broom pushing them. And no voices.

Anyway, Prince Charles: Some believe The Problem with the two is the Royal Appearances. You know, all those wreath-laying, hat-wearing, handshaking, bouquet gathering things that British Royals attend ad nauseum. Camilla made 230 of them in the first year of her marriage. Galloping hither and yon day in and day out. That’s a honeymoon?

Well, evidently that was her limit. Makes sense, no? She let it be known she has no intention of following in the footsteps of Diana carrying out those heavy workloads of royal engagements and Patronages (while Charles and Camilla were having a long affair). For this she’s been criticized for being "lazy.” This does not pleaseth milady.

It’s been reported that the atmosphere has been so bad that after another Royal Row with His Royal Nibs, Camilla stormed out of Clarence House and drove to Ray Mill House in Wiltshire where she lived before she married. She stayed there for several days.

No more for this damned duchess! She might have moaned with her aching tooties elevated to the back of the damask-covered royal sofa. Can you blame her? It might have been a helluva lot easier just staying the mistress. It certainly worked for her great-granny Mrs. Keppel, and Charles’ great-great-granpappy Edward VII.

However, we plebians do forget, the British Royal Family does work. They have to (“You want this throne, you pay for it!”) Besides the daily darting and ducking from the media’s Sling and Arrows, these people have to go out and shake thousands and thousands and thousands of hands and kiss the pet snake all the time. Yes they do get to act like imperious simps, having their rings kissed and feet kissed in public, but day after day year after year forever?? A royal Oy!

Nevertheless, even if Charles and Camilla are the happiest of couples, others are not. Especially disapproving of the Duchess's workload is the Queen's former Press Secretary, Dickie Arbiter. He said: "On the past year's standing, Camilla isn’t quite yet a fully paidup member of the Royal Family. One can only hope that she's going to pull her finger out and do a bit more next year."

It should also be remembered that Camilla lost her father, Major Bruce Shand, who died at 89 last month. Major Shand was a military hero who served in the Battle of El Alemain and was later taken war prisoner. From all accounts he then lived out the rest of his life rather simply, compared to his royal daughter, close to the land with his horses and other animals. And, his daughter loved him. Heated conversations, long faces and somber lips can all spell grief and mourning right now for her.

Despite the fact, all of it could (almost) be a made up story. However, for those of you who often find themselves classified as conspiracy theorists, there is also this little nugget, made up or not, from a British publication about an arrest of a British spy who had been lined to the inquiry into the death of Diana.

It reads:

French officials raided the home of 42-year-old former MI6 agent Richard Tomlinson in Cannes, France.

According to Britain’s Daily Express newspaper, personal files and computer documents were seized. Tomlinson’s yacht was also searched.

A source was quoted as saying: “The French security services carried out this raid on Tomlinson on the instructions of MI6. Tomlinson has not committed any offence under French law and this shows that MI6 and the French security services are joined at the hip – just as they were on the night of Diana’s death.”

The former agent has assisted investigations into the fatal Paris car, which killed Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed and the driver of their Mercedes, Henri Paul.

Tomlinson has been providing the inquiry – led by former Metropolitan chief Lord Stevens – with insider information.

It is believed he knew controversial information about Henri Paul’s alleged links with the MI6.

The source added: “It is certainly true that the authorities in France and Britain will stop at nothing to prevent Tomlinson from giving evidence.

Tomlinson has already been imprisoned for writing about his spying experience and he has previously suggested that Henri Paul was blinded by a laser gun, as he drove through the underground tunnel, where the crash took place that night in Paris."

G’night sweet Princess.


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July 6, 2006, Volume VI, Number 110


© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/