Why even I’ve changed my mind on Queen Camilla
PRINCE Charles, in his BBC documentary on Thursday, seemed to be a man at ease in his own skin. Devoted to good causes, a loving father and grandfather, he had shed the angst that once seemed to bedevil him and was clearly determined to make his time as king-in-waiting worthwhile.
And so far he has. He warned us of the perils of plastic decades before ‘single-use’ became part of our vocabulary, and the Prince’s Trust has helped more than 900,000 children from deprived backgrounds find a place in the world.
Inevitably, the headlines have concentrated on his comments about what kind of king he wants to be. But the documentary was actually most revealing about his wife Camilla and their marriage.
She appeared no fewer than five times in the first 15 minutes and it was she who had the last word, finishing the programme by describing the caring, lighter side of Charles she would like us all to see. She came across as his standard bearer, extolling his virtues with becoming humour in that husky ex-smoker’s voice of hers.
Whether she was shown jollying him up on a tedious foreign tour or describing him playing with her grandchildren, this was not so much about our future King but, whisper it, our future Queen.
I have been one of Camilla’s fiercest critics, not least about the way in which she and Charles betrayed Diana. But it was crystal clear from this documentary that she is integral to his happiness and they are meant for each other.
This demonstration of mutual trust and contentment only accentuated how ill-matched Charles and Diana were, which must still be a source of pain to his sons.
Indeed, one of the most poignant moments in the programme was when Prince William lamented the fact that Charles hardly finds time to see little George, Charlotte and Louis. ‘It’s something I’m working more heavily on, put it that way...’ said Wills. ‘I would like him to have more time with the children.’
Yet Camilla revealed that Charles is wonderful with her grandchildren, playfully swinging them around and reading them Harry Potter books, with all the different voices.
Those of us who believe in an enduring monarchy should perhaps accept that when Charles becomes King, Camilla will be his Queen. They are evidently a perfect match.
But amid the celebrations to mark his 70th — and Happy Birthday, Sir — I just hope Charles takes heed of William’s plea and finds a little more time for Diana’s grandchildren.