Bet on the Monarchy

By Wood, Sue Ann | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 5, 1995 | Go to article overview

Bet on the Monarchy


Wood, Sue Ann, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


THE FUTURE of the British monarchy may look a bit shaky right now, but two historians at universities in the St. Louis area think it probably will survive the current Prince Charles-Camilla Parker Bowles scandal.

However, both history professors think it's unlikely that Britons would ever accept Camilla as queen if she should marry Charles.

Washington University professor Richard W. Davis, an expert on British history, said Charles and Camilla are looking "pretty shopworn and tawdry" with all of the media revelations about their 20-year affair.

"Even in these relaxed times, I don't think they would be accepted as king and queen," he said.

James Haas, British history expert and professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, pointed to recent news stories quoting the prince's valet about having to wash mud out of Charles' pajamas after his secret nighttime trysts with Camilla outside his country home while Diana was sleeping inside.

"It's so sleazy," Haas said. "I think Camilla would not be acceptable as queen."

Davis recently gave a talk at the English Speaking Union in St. Louis in which he made some comparisons between the current difficulties of the Prince of Wales and those of his great-uncle, Edward VIII, in 1936.

Although Edward was determined to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson, Davis said, the prime minister and Archbishop of Canterbury said he could not unless he gave up the crown.

"There was no alternative, and he ought to have seen that earlier," Davis said. "He had risked constitutional and political consequences of awful proportions, with hardly a second thought.

"With all his style and charm, he was a shallow man, not fit to be king. Had his successor not been George VI, the throne might have toppled."

If Prince Charles remains simply separated from Diana, Davis said, there will be no formal barrier to his succession to the throne, because the Church of England "is not concerned whether a married couple lives happily together or not, only that there shall be no divorce. …

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