Thursday, 22 May 2014

Charles and Camilla: My 2 Cents Worth


This is a photo of the Royals when they were here in Canada in 2009.  It is Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla.  They were here in 2012 and 2014, too.  Though the tour in 2012 was considered a success, their visit in 2009 was poorly received; it was politely reported later that the crowds were reserved in their reactions to them.  In fact, in some areas hardly anyone showed up to see them.  This was something new in terms of Canadians and our love of  royal family tours. Generally our reaction is always o.t.t., over the top, to quote an English phrase, with the norm being over-enthusiastic Ensign waving crowds showing up in all sorts of weather to catch just a glimpse of one of them.

I thought about this and wondered a bit about why the cool reception for Charles and his bride.
I happened to be in the crowd at the War Memorial ceremony the year they toured in 2009.  I was close enough to watch them emerge from their town car and observe the looks on their faces.  Charles was smiling broadly and immediately approached the crowds for a word or two.  I watched Camilla and the only word of could think of to describe her face was displeased.  She smiled stiffly at the other dignitaries and ignored the couple of people in the crowd who called her name.

 Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 2009 More

  I couldn't help myself; I had negative thoughts about her.  From the look she maintained on her face, I could imagine her thinking  'well, here I am in the colonies; one must grin and bear it I suppose'...that sort of thing. An older wheel-chair bound lady in front of me said loudly to her companion, "She doesn't look very happy to be here, now does she?"  Exactly my thought.  My friend couldn't get over how old Camilla looked whereas we agreed Charles looked marvelous, smooth-cheeked and robust.  Later I read reports that described her appearance as frosty so we weren't the only ones reacting like that.
I remember well the fiasco that was the marriage of Charles and Diana.  I was sad for her and unhappy with him and the notion of him continuing a relationship with his mistress after his marriage was disappointing, to say the least.
  Later when circumstances evolved and he was able to marry that mistress, I probably should have been happy for her.  We're about the same age and it could be seen as a coup for an 'older' woman to finally get her prince plus it seemed to be the culmination of a genuine love story.  However, I could not forget all the unhappiness surrounding their relationship especially the hardship it caused a very young Diana, and I wasn't alone in those sentiments.  Maybe that was the way most people felt back then but like most things, time has helped soften those sentiments.  I keep reading polls that suggest the public are feeling more receptive to Camilla and she is more admired generally, though still not enough to ever be called Queen.