Uphill task ahead for Camilla

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  • Sunday, 20 Feb 2005

lOVE conquers all, so they say. With that in mind, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will need to demonstrate every ounce of it to win the British public over. 

The fact that the bride-to-be will not be called Queen Camilla or the Princess of Wales goes to show the sensitivities surrounding the impending royal wedding. 

Indeed, after being madly in love for 35 years, there is no good reason why Charles should not marry Camilla – though in the case of Prince Charles the heir it is a more complex matter. 

The issue has divided the nation following the official announcement of the couple’s civil wedding on April 8 at Windsor Castle, subsequently switched to Guildhall town hall following a legal blunder.  

Many Britons believe the couple’s enduring love deserves recognition while others cannot forgive them for their part in the misery of the late Diana, the Princess of Wales. 

Several public opinion polls have produced contrasting views as to whether Prince Charles should marry his long-time lover. 

However, one viewpoint that stood out strongly from among the newspaper polls was that the prince should renounce his claim to the throne if he married the woman he loved. 

Some pointed out the great courage shown by his late great uncle, King Edward VIII, who chose to abdicate rather than give up his lover just because she was a divorcee. 

There were even those who questioned how a divorcee could be the head of the Church of England when there were some churches within it that refused to marry divorcees. 

”Prince Charles has to choose between the throne and marrying Camilla. He can’t have the royal cake and eat it, too,” was the general consensus among a number of respondents. 

Another revelation, especially among women and the older generation, was that Prince William would be a far more popular king than his father would ever be. 

The theory of “skipping a generation”, however, will remain an elusive dream. This is despite the fact that some people are still incensed over Prince Charles’ decision to remarry before the inquest into Diana’s death had been concluded. 

Prince Charles had, in fact, made known his intention to succeed his mother and take on the “top job” with Camilla by his side. 

However, in a modern society just like in any other country with a constitutional monarchy, the monarch can only rule with the consent and support of the people. 

Having said that, the couple will have to embark on a massive public relations exercise to overcome the haunting memory of Diana. 

Camilla would have to work a lot harder to gain the public’s support and trust as she knows she can never fill the shoes of his first wife. 

“They are tolerated but are certainly not loved by the masses,” said one public relations expert, obviously referring to Diana’s popularity as the people’s princess. 

Thus, it is certainly wise for the civil marriage to be a sombre affair, unlike the 1981 royal wedding which was televised to more than 750 million people worldwide.  

The latest twist in the British royal soap will, at least, bring to an end the demeaning charade endured by the couple over the past few years. 

At the end of the day, whatever the public feel about the couple, the marriage of Britain’s future king will go down in history. 

With their decision, the prince and his lover have demonstrated a refreshingly realistic approach for the royal family, vital to the crown’s future. 

If Camilla’s down-to-earth approach could bring her husband closer to the ordinary folks and their daily concerns, she would have done a great service to him and the country. 

It has been almost eight years since Diana was cruelly taken away in the horrific car crash. It’s time to move on.  

Just as many who had endured broken relationships or suffered the pain of bereavement but found joy again with new partners, it’s time to give the lovers the fresh start they deserve.  

Deep in our heart of hearts, nobody would really want to deny the middle-age couple the contentment and recognition of a stable marriage.  

Forget the fairytale built on fluff and fantasy. This is indeed a true love story of two people who simply could not be torn apart. 

We wish them well and everlasting happiness.  

  • Choi Tuck Wo is Editor, European Union Bureau, based in London (email: twchoi@thestar.com.my

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