Matters of the family

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One of my favorite Spring views made her grand and delicate brilliance full force on Sunday afternoon.

Monday, April 1, 2024. A bright sunny day yesterday, Easter Sunday, in New York. Temps were up into the 50s, almost 60 at the top of the day. And the city was peacefully quiet with few cars on the avenues. Until about three on Sunday afternoon. I went to the local Citarella and Third Avenue was suddenly heavy car traffic obviously returning and lots of shoppers clearly filling their cupboards again.

In the news this past week, the British Royal family was in the headlines (again) what with King Charles and his daughter in-law Princess Kate in hospital and the uncertainty surrounding the matters of the family.

Being of the same generation, I grew up reading about King Charles and his little sister Princess Anne as of course very special children growing up in what to a child looks like imperial circumstances — castles, palaces and all.

The new family introduced with father Prince Philip with Prince Charles and mother Queen Elizabeth II with Princess Anne.
L. to r.: Big brother holding his sister’s hand helps her move with confidence; Sister and brother with grandmother, The Queen Mother Elizabeth.

Having grown up in a house that was a century old, and looked it and felt it, I naturally was curious as to what life was like growing up in palaces.

As personages, to us masses, they looked other worldly — as well as enviable with their royal limousines and coaches, and yachts, planes, and all the other luxuries that are not even dream-able to just about all of us.

How it all changes once we’re into The Race. As a kid, however, Prince Charles and his little sister Princess Anne were just cute children, and hardly looked royal to this kid, although always dressed up to go out for the world to see them. It was impossible to imagine what their real life was like; they were the kids who lived in a castle.

A lifetime later, sister and brother still there. Certainty and Common Sense are her allies.

Their mother was the Queen and often busy. Their childhood existence was like being a child of an institution. Although they retained a brother-sister relationship. He was a kind and thoughtful brother and she was independent minded — with the natural authority she inherited from her mother and a self-regard that she inherited from her father.

Reliance is the role she was born to play brilliantly.

She was the favorite of Prince Philip, and she has a lot of his independent personality. She is a very intelligent woman, no nonsense but kind; strong, and decisive. And a complete princess who sees the role as something for keeping a stable community. As her mother did. It is believed by some that she should be succeeding her mother to the throne. Because she has the power of her mother’s presence in her.

The Royal Family today is at a new crossroads, like the rest of us. It is important to remember that this family is a business in itself, an element of the 21st century civilization.

Ten years ago, it was widely believed that Charles would never be king. He was almost 70 and his mother was still Her Majesty. There were considerations of moving his son Prince William and his wife Princess Kate to give the Throne a fresh start in this ever-changing world.

With his current illness, it has naturally been considered for the health of his monarchy that he might abdicate for sensible reasons.

Enter Camilla. Seriously taking on the role of the wife of the heir.

Camilla and Charles attending the Easter Mattins Service at St George’s Chapel on Easter Sunday. (@theroyalfamily)
Princess Anne made an appearance, too. (@theroyalfamily)

Camilla’s great-grandmother Alice Keppel.

Camilla is a modern woman, long married, a mother, a brilliant rider and well-connected socially, and also with an historic ancestral relationship to the Royal family. Her great-grandmother Alice Keppel was the last and longest mistress of Charles’ great-great grandfather Edward VII. It was Alice Keppel who the dying monarch had personally requested his wife Queen Alexandra be allowed to also stand by his bed as he lay dying. And so it was.

Queen Camilla’s presence in King Charles’ life is clearly his strength. It is likely that it was that quality in her that kept her in his life before he even met Diana.

The latest (tabloid) news about the family is looking more dramatic with Kate’s illness and William’s alleged outside interests; like father, like son. As it is in this 21st century troubled world some believe the Royal Family needs a sensible, practical monarch, one of experience, wisdom and all of her youth behind her. That would be good for the unity of the country. Some believe.

Ironically, many of the younger British generations have no interest in the existence of the Royal family and are unimpressed by their presence.

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