Joined: 13 Feb 2006
|Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:54 pm Post subject: A brilliant article!!Savaged for my praise of Cowmilla
|Savaged for my praise of our future Queen
I am part of a sinister conspiracy. My co-conspirators include senior members of the Royal Family who were responsible for the death of another royal. I have been paid money for my part in this nefarious project, which reveals me to be a fawning sycophant.
That at least is the view of you, the readers of this newspaper. Or, at least, some of you. Not the majority of you, I hope. But an angry number of you. Boy, are you angry. I have a stack of your letters sitting here on my desk. They are so toxic that they are eating through the varnish.
A few weeks ago, after spending two weeks following the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall around the Middle East and India, I wrote a piece about the experience. I concluded that the Duchess was the Prince’s best asset (he doesn’t have that many of them). She makes him happy and more relaxed and she is warm, likes to laugh, lacks stuffiness and seems like a vaguely normal member of the human race. For the record, the headline on the piece — “Camilla, I love you” — which was not written by me, was intended to be fun. I am not in love with the Duchess of Cornwall. I think she’s a good thing, but I don’t like her in a special way. After the article appeared I was asked to go on an American network breakfast show to talk about Camilla. I said it was my hunch that the public was mellowing towards her and that she would become Queen, despite the official line that she will be known as HRH The Princess Consort when Prince Charles accedes to the throne.
The letters I have received in response to my article have made me question that suggestion. If the Duchess has sneaked out behind the Highgrove stables for a fag and a read of the paper (even if her husband hasn’t banned smoking at home, I’m sure he’s outlawed all newspapers by now) this might be the time for her to turn the page, or saddle up and go for a long ride. There are people out there among the catholic readership of this newspaper who despise her with a shocking ferocity.
Camilla, apparently, is guilty of “ruthless scheming” to destroy both Charles’s marriage and her own. She “got rid of Diana” by engaging in “sexy orgies with the Queen’s eldest son”. “Some say she is an adulterer — to me she’s a tramp.” Meanwhile, Diana lies in her grave, “sent there by Parker Bowles and the Queen’s eldest son”. Some of the letters ramble on for page after page of livid scrawl. Inevitably one was written in capital letters and green ink. Camilla “lacks decency and backbone”. Worse, she is “a vulgar-looking old lady”. Charles was not spared insults, either. A particularly nauseating note, unsurprisingly unsigned, concluded: “It is my fervent hope that those two evil creatures will rot in Hell.”
I was accused of being part of a “wicked campaign” to make people forget about Diana and boost the image of the heir to the throne and his wife. “What an outrageous piece of sycophancy,” said one of many that employed similar epithets, usually accompanied by the word “fawning” or “nonsense”, or both. I had been “manipulated by Camilla”. “It would be interesting to know if Parker Bowles paid well” for what I had written.
It feels strange suddenly to be regarded as a royal toady. I have written critically about Charles both in the past and in this most recent piece. But for the Diana devotees, there is nothing so disgusting as a positive appraisal of the Prince’s second wife. The public remains implacably opposed to Camilla becoming Queen. According to a poll for this paper, only 21 per cent would be happy at such an outcome. Clarence House should be under no illusions about the scale of the task still ahead of them as they persevere in their attempt to rehabilitate her. But given the likelihood that it could be many years before the Prince becomes King, I’m still going with my hunch that she’ll be given the title.
As for the visceral hatred of her, well, it’s clearly nutty. It is true that neither Charles nor Camilla exactly covered themselves in glory during his first marriage. But you’ve got to ask serious questions about your own understanding of what it is to be human if you can’t see that it is time to move on.
Punch-up at the Palladium
Having said all this, I must admit that I can be wildly intolerant myself about some things. Very close to the top of my list of people I detest are those who talk loudly in the theatre or cinema.
On Tuesday night, in the stalls at the London Palladium during the musical Sinatra, I was gratified to see a woman even angrier than me at two men who were delivering a running commentary. The angrier she became with the imbeciles behind her, the more noise they made. At the interval she began remonstrating loudly, close to losing it.
I had to go to find my wife who had arrived late, but as I reached the exit there was a scream from the auditorium behind me. When I returned to my seat only one of the two idiots remained, resisting eviction by the ushers. Eventually he went, claiming that he’d been hit by an aggrieved theatregoer and demanding compensation. The ushers looked as if they had no intention of granting his request. The elderly ladies behind me were thrilled. “It was a proper punch-up,” they said. I was only sorry I missed it.
The most arresting fact to emerge from the records of what the political parties spent at the last election was not that the bill for styling Cherie Blair’s hair was £7,700 or that Michael Howard’s make-up cost £3,638. Nor was it that the Conservatives spent £1,269 on imported groundhog costumes or that Charles Kennedy’s bar bill for two nights was £100 (given what we now know, that seems rather modest). It was not even that Labour paid a US pollster half a million quid. Such fees are par for the course. No, the most astonishing detail was that it cost £264,000 to buy and £75,000 to refit John Prescott’s battle bus.
But now, having seen the pictures of the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc moves that John Prescott employed to transport his secretary and former paramour around the dance floor at an office party, you can see why it might have been necessary to reconfigure the seats on a conventional bus to ensure the safety of those called upon to work in close and cramped conditions with the athletic Deputy Prime Minister.
Diana, Princess of Wales is and always will be The People's Princess.