I need to get something off my chest: I feel bad for Prince Charles and Camilla. I believe they went through all kinds of hell they never truly deserved.
And while I realize this isn’t exactly a timely article, someone mentioned Princess Diana being her hero in a discussion group yesterday, yet again, which brought everything about those scandals right back.
It’s easy to love Diana. She was a beautiful, naive princess who married into an intimidating royal family and was cheated on by her stuffy, uncharismatic husband. Then she died tragically young.
I can still remember the media witch hunt that crucified her husband and his lover. “HOW,” everyone wanted to know, “Could Prince Charles possibly betray his young, beautiful wife with a nasty old hag like Camilla!?”
I’m not saying Diana wasn’t a victim. She naively married into a family that was only looking for an acceptable breeder to carry on the royal line. She was devastated by finding out her prince had never actually been in love with her in the first place.
But I have lots of sympathy for Charles too.
You see, I think he was also a victim of circumstance. He was love in Camilla Parker Bowles. She understood him. They’re both members of the Old Guard with similar temperaments and common interests, like tradition and fancy ponies.
But he wouldn’t have been allowed to marry her back in the 1970-80’s. She was divorced and unsuitable, yet the royal family kept pressuring the Prince of Wales to find a wife.
And yes, it would’ve been much more heroic for him to defy them, to say, “I’m going to marry the woman I love, regardless of how you feel about it!”
But he was caught in a centuries-old system that was much bigger than him. He’d been brainwashed, since birth, to put royal duties above personal feelings: to marry a woman his family approved of to make suitable heirs for the royal line. Maybe he could discretely follow his heart on the side, as his forefathers had done, but it was critical to keep his official relationship within certain guidelines.
So he married a young, naive woman with whom he had absolutely nothing in common.
And shockingly enough, it didn’t work out. Maybe that’s because the social rules have changed and now even members of the royal family are supposed to be in love with their spouses. But that’s hardly how things had been done up to this point.
Still, the media tore him and his lover to pieces while holding up his wronged wife as a blameless martyr.
What I find especially ironic about all this was how angry people are/were about a man throwing over a younger, prettier woman for a less attractive one.
Isn’t it usually the reverse? We usually tear apart the men who replace their aging partners with younger, prettier models. Don’t we generally consider it incredibly superficial to care more about looks than compatibility?
So, why the international outrage when things worked out in reverse? Charles has loved Camilla for well over thirty years and stuck by her even when the powers-that-be threw a wide-eyed virgin straight into his lap.
In truth, I think it was the outdated royal system of valuing status above all else that tragically failed Diana.
And Charles too.