Magazine article The Spectator

Adultery Rewarded

Magazine article The Spectator

Adultery Rewarded

Article excerpt

To name Camilla as Queen Consort would devalue marriage

Funny, isn't it, how the unthinkable becomes the thinkable, then the possible, then the acceptable and finally the inevitable? You can see the process in motion when it comes to the prospect of the Duchess of Cornwall becoming Queen Consort in Waiting. Once, the Duchess was lucky to appear in public without getting pelted with bread rolls; now she's allowed on The Archers , having redeemed her cameo appearance with a plug for osteoporosis awareness, and, ahem, for Duchy Originals shortbread. When a girl in Wiltshire asked her whether she was to become Queen, she said: 'You never know.'

Which, in terms of ambiguity, equals Prince Charles's response to a similar question in the US: 'We'll see, won't we? That could be.'

Meanwhile, the press is squared, the middle class is quite prepared for a Queen Camilla. At least those of the middle class who take their lead from the press. My own sinking feeling that the thing is a done deal came when I saw Hello!

magazine deliver the message to the hair salons and waiting rooms of Britain that two 'queens-in-waiting', viz the Duchess and Kate Middleton, had had lunch together. Then there is the supportive commentary from columnists with standing, such as Charles Moore of this parish. The Prime Minister apparently takes the same view.

Asked on Sky TV whether he was 'up for a Queen Camilla', he declared himself a 'big Camilla fan'. That, I suppose, is the contemporary equivalent of the ten thousand swords that Edmund Burke thought would have leapt from their scabbard to avenge even a look that threatened Marie Antoinette.

Richard Kay of the Daily Mail recently charted the Duchess's progress towards a throne in terms of 'a familiar pattern of behaviour. . . hand-wringing reluctance, followed, after a respectful interval, by acquiescence'. Thus the Duchess moved from her declared abhorrence to the notion of ruining the marriage of Prince Charles and his wife to being the Prince's mistress; from seeing no need to be married to the Prince after Diana's death to doing just that; from an unwillingness to accept a royal title to being Duchess of Cornwall; from being horrified at the prospect of being Queen to, well, apparently graceful acquiescence. So let's put the other view of the matter: mine. The Duchess of Cornwall is a mistress made good. …

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