Blogs > Cliopatria > Throne vs. Camilla .... Throne & Camilla

Apr 11, 2005 1:56 am

Throne vs. Camilla .... Throne & Camilla

The 23-year-old Prince Charles left his lover Camilla for full-time Navy service in 1971. It's not clear to me if at that time he actively decided not to marry her. (I'm no royals buff.) She married in 1973.

It seems quite clear that the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas (er, Windsors) found Camilla unsuitable then, and that Charles felt unable to marry her with family approval.

So Charles drew two history lessons. Like his great uncle, Edward VIII, he could not expect to be king with a wife rejected by the establishment. And like his Aunt Princess Margaret, who called off her wedding to Peter Townsend, Charles faced a certain ostracization from his family if he pursued his true love.

Presumably, then, Charles either felt unable in the 1970s, or knew it to be an impossibility, to make Camilla Princess of Wales. He seems to have chosen the throne over Camilla either volitionally or by default. Many unforeseen events and decades later, he is in position to have both.

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Oscar Chamberlain - 4/11/2005

You are right about the fact that he is finally getting both halves of what he wanted. I had not meant to slide past that, but like you I have been more than a bit irritated by the media's bronx cheer. That was where my mind went.

I'm a bit surprised the media has not picked up on this point, simply because there are some journalists who have made the Royals their lives' work. By necessity, they must have a sense of history, even if narrowly focused. Thank you for noticing.

Jeff Vanke - 4/11/2005

Me, too. In fact, I'm sorely disappointed at the mocking tones of Schadenfreude in commentary on the weekend's nuptials.

I'm calling attention to an episode of historical decision-making that is stunningly missing in today's media. That's part of what historians do.

Oscar Chamberlain - 4/11/2005

I think Charles and Camilla both have paid their dues for their mistakes, with interest. I wish them well.

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