By virtue of her marriage to Prince Charles, Camilla will become the second most senior royal lady after the Queen. But will she be welcome in the Queen’s immediate circle? If Camilla is absent from
the balcony at Buckingham Palace after Trooping the Colour in June, we will know the worst
There is a major hurdle ahead
which may yet do permanent
damage to their relationship. In
June, the Queen’s official birthday is
celebrated by the Trooping the
Colour ceremony, one of the most
glittering jewels of British pageantry.
It is customary for the royal family to
gather on the Buckingham Palace
balcony afterwards to acknowledge
If Camilla – by then the second
most senior royal lady after the
Queen by virtue of her marriage – is
absent from the balcony, we will
know the worst. It will mean that
there is no place for Camilla in the
Queen’s immediate circle. Charles,
who has allowed his heart to rule his
head in the matter of Camilla, is
unlikely to take this snub lying
down. The consequence of this –
outright war between sovereign
and heir – is depressing for those
who believe in maintaining the
monarchy in this country.
Which brings us back to the
question of Queen Camilla. The
couple marry next Friday. Next
Saturday, as is her custom when she
is at Windsor, our present monarch
will saddle up and go horse riding.
A fall – given that she never wears
more than a headscarf and that she
is approaching the age of 80 – could
signal the end of her 52-year reign.
And that means that as early as
next Saturday we could have two new
incumbents at Buckingham Palace –
King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
Because, as things stand at present,
there is absolutely nothing to
man and wife they will build a strong
team – and for those who care about
the future of the monarchy, a strong
team is what is required in an age
where cynicism and apathy could
quickly spell an end to royalty.
And yet things are not right and the
country – if not Prince Charles – is
quick to sense it. Many people feel that
despite the fact that Princess Diana
died nearly eight years ago, there is an
air of hurry and rush about this royal
wedding. Clarence House’s woeful
inability to organise it properly, and
the Queen’s carefully staged move to
distance herself from it, have added to
that air of discomfort.
But, above all, it is the apparent
subterfuge surrounding the whole
event which worries people most. In
1981, 750 million people around the
world watched as Charles and Diana
tied an elaborate knot around the
most wonderful fairytale romance
And yet, backstage, the man who
married them – Archbishop of
Canterbury Dr Robert Runcie – was
declaring it “an arranged marriage”.
Nobody likes to be fooled once and
they are not ready to be fooled again.
They want to know precisely whether
Camilla will be Queen or not. Hedging
and fudging at this stage are likely to
provoke even stronger reactions
against Camilla in the future.
Hardest-hit in all this is the Queen
herself. Never before has she found it
necessary to instruct her son and heir
to toe the line, but in the incessant
repetition of the phrase “low-key”
with regard to the wedding (it won’t
be), one hears the sovereign’s clear
words of caution and warning. It is
likely, however, that they are falling
on deaf ears.