A Royal Meandering

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The city flora perseveres. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021. Temps in the high 70s yesterday. And muggy, but turning cooler (70) by nightfall with showers predicted.

Last days of summer. Very quiet around these parts and I’m anticipating the coming months with unbridled curiosity for no reason other than I know nothing. My curiosity is always searching for some news to distract from the news. I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s self-therapy; and that’s life.

Yesterday was the 24th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana in Paris. Fate’s gift to a somnambulant Monarchy when she married Charles, the Prince of Wales in 1981. She was 20, the storybook princess; the New World Princess, an international ambassadress of Good Will and Healing. As well as beautiful and glamorous and living in a palace. She was an instant sensation to the British people.

The marriage was obviously not made in heaven, or in two lovesick individuals. It’s quite possible that he never loved her but was following the guidance of his advisors to the 31 year old man who would (presumably) eventually come to the Throne and produce heirs. On camera the wedding couple looked good. Although he had long before had an interest in Camilla.

As a couple, Camilla enhances Charles’ image which has the quality (from afar) of a stuffed shirt. When you see them together — in person — she gives him substance without requiring a response to her. It’s a natural, maternal quality that no doubt deeply appeals to a boy who didn’t have much of a mother much of the time since she had a country to tend to.

I once asked a man who was a close friend of Charles “what he was really like to be around, on a one to one?” I could tell the man liked Charles and enjoyed his company. I had already heard him talk about Charles in conversation and it was with a friendly and open point of view.

His immediate response was that “He has no Common Sense.” He said it with a kindly smile. I asked him to explain what he meant. He said that if in conversation he might bring up a problem he is trying to solve, “and you gave him some advice that was common sense, he’d think it was brilliant thinking.”

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary in 2020. Clarence House/handout

When people consider Charles’ life, it rarely occurs to them that he’s spent his entire life waiting for his mother to die. You may know the arithmetic, but you can’t even imagine the feeling. That’s a rather morbid future when you consider that Mother in Charles’ case, is now approaching her centenary and is without question the most powerful person of goodwill in the world.  The crazy world we’re living in.

Which takes me back to Harry. Because this story about these people is personal to each of us in terms of how we see it and what we think of it. And what we think of the characters — none of whom we know personally or have ever seen in the flesh and never will; and yet we feel we know them as if they’re members of our family. That kind of “fame” in the world is the world of what is now called Public Relations.

A young Prince Charles plays in the Clarence House garden with his mother, Princess Elizabeth, in 1950.

We, the public, really don’t know what the royal lives are like. Although you can think of them as next door neighbors whose tumult and shouting sometimes occurs within earshot, we think we do (know them). Because there’s a universal resemblance in terms of domestic behavior and relationships; how we humanoids act around each other. But otherwise we know next to nothing, if anything about the “real” lives.

Harry and his brother William, the heir-apparent after his father, are the bequests of Diana to this story. The most tragic or mishap of a marriage, or just plain nastiness, has been Prince Harry and his wife — according to popular opinion.

“H” and “Meg.” Alexi Lubomirski / Kensington Palace

We all know people who have strong opinions about Harry and Meghan. They tend to think those two should be cut off from the Monarchy (and regret it the rest of their lives). Anything to punish the couple for their infractions to an (imagined) ideal way of life. Living in a palace, being waited on and bowed and kow-towed to, and wearing a crown whenever out in a crowd. It sounds like an ideal life, no?

Harry had all that before he married that … that … that … actress … that hoyden (an old-fashioned word meaning a loose woman). She is believed to have married him for his money (or rather his crown). Almost any woman he would marry, would be marrying a crown. They’d often be bejeweled. And now he doesn’t have one (a crown)! Good for him!

And now he’s writing a memoir, and you know she’s got a big hand in it because she’s that kind of woman. We know this from reading the tabloids. And one of these days she’ll get bored and drop him for someone else. Someone with more money. That’s according to a frequent analysis of the relationship.

Then there’s the business of Harry’s paternity. The one about his father not being Charles but some guy that Diana had an affair with. “He looks just like him” is the “fact” behind it. I’ve never had the opportunity to look, nor do I care. There are other members of the same organization who have similar paternities. Which are never mentioned, and they won’t be, and why should they be?

The latest hubbub about the Royal Family is Prince Andrew’s lawsuit by the girl whom he met through the infamous Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew is the second son, after Charles. In his early years he was third in line, a very important position for a boy. That ended when Charles married Diana and had the two sons.

After all, everyone has their favorites.

Andrew has long said to be the favorite child of the Queen. Mothers often have a favorite child, and that child eventually has power with the mother that the other children might not have.

The question raised in the British tabs is: Will the Queen remove Andrew from some of his Royal posts? Now that he’s being taken to court by that woman (once a young girl) whom Andrew knew (ahem).

So far the Queen has not shown the interest in the matter and would prefer having her son keep his Royal positions. Some believe she will never do otherwise because because Andrew is her “favorite.” Even though.

This is all hearsay and gossip — including some of the “facts.”

Evidently the Queen has now made it known that she doesn’t like some of the things Harry is quoted as saying out there in Hollywood. The Family continues with popular interest. It looks like a soap opera and is often a more interesting distraction from the outside looking in, than from the inside looking out (at who was looking in).

What interests me about Prince Harry’s extraction from his Family and their counter responses is whether it is indicative of a public response to this Family, who are often called “The Firm,” and their future. I hope he and his princess have a successful and happy marriage for as long as possible.

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