Friday, October 12, 2012

What if Charles HAD married Camilla in the 1970s?? A fun look at what might have been

NOTE: THIS IS ENTIRELY FICTIONAL. My apologies to William, Harry, Peter, Savannah, Isla, Zara, Tom (and children) and Laura (and children) who would not be here today if this story had been true!


Her Majesty the Queen of course—after all it’s HER Diamond Jubilee. No Prince Philip since the poor chap is in the hospital with that nasty bladder infection.  Sad, but better safe than sorry.  

Could we have had a more dutiful Monarch made-to-measure? Doubtful. Wonderful to see her still going strong, but she is 86! It's her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren we're really getting to know today. 

SOURCE Charles and wife Camilla

Let's start with the Heir to the Throne and his family--"The Waleses" as we all know them. Seems like they're almost part of our own family after all these years.There’s our future King Charles, now a grandfather, and his beloved wife Camilla. Never has a royal couple been so loved! They are so well matched. It seems like yesterday we were standing here cheering them on their wedding day back in September of ’73.  The awkward, shy Prince of Wales beaming with delight as his bride came down the aisle to him on her father’s arm. 

SOURCE  Andrew Parker Bowles helps with the youngsters

And Camilla, radiant if not beautiful, in a simple dress that disappointed the fashion writers, defied anyone to actually believe the rubbish the tabloids were spouting about her being a woman “with a past?”  How happy they were—and ARE still.  Who will forget the cute children in their wedding? Little Prince Edward, Sarah Armstrong-Jones, the Knatchbull twins, those cousin’s of Camilla's who seemed to be in every casual photo that day and, of course, darling little India Hicks all  marshaled down the long  isle by the bride’s sister to the tune some beautiful operatic aria Charles had chosen specially for the ceremony. 

Source Charles with Prince Michael (right)
And the nervous, but oh-so-happy and beaming groom waiting at the altar with his “supporters, ” Princes Richard of Gloucester and Michael of Kent, his eyes moist from the lovely music. He was clearly so at peace with his choice of wife.  Who among us can forget the iconic pictures of the day—young Prince Edward, hero-worship in his eyes, reaching up to kiss his big brother before the ceremony. And who could forget little India Hick’s ignoring her Grandfather Lord Mountbatten's glare and twirling in the isle in her pretty little dress? Seems like yesterday.

Camilla was popular enough as the wife of the Prince of Wales and mother of the Heir and the Spare, but it was Charles breakdown in ’79 after Mountbatten’s assassination that earned her the nation’s love and respect. Hugely pregnant with her daughter, she insisted on keeping all of Charles’s engagements, turning the school run over to the nanny to do so. Charles spent those long 7 months out of the public eye recovering from his crippling depression.  

SOURCE Charles with "Arthur"

SOURCE Charles in '79

Later that year we all cheered as Camilla bravely arrived at the maternity room with only her sister to comfort her and then emerged a mere two days later, baby in her arms, to head back to her husband people were impressed. It was the birth of his longed-for daughter, Charlotte, that brought Prince Charles out of his depression and back to us. Camilla became a crusader for mental health care and used her personal trust fund to endow a chair in psychiatry. 

SOURCE Charles & sons
 We watched those 3 children grow fast and then shared the family's horror as Camilla's smoking nearly killed them all when she dropped a cigarette while driving the school run one morning. The crash with the milk-float left her little FIAT crumpled to nothing, but miraculously none of the children were hurt and poor Camilla had only a broken wrist and some cuts. How we cheered her on as she took her struggle to quit smoking public and encouraged all smokers to stop when driving. Who can forget that PANORAMA interview where she broke down crying at the thought of almost killing her own children over a cigarette! Or course she'd managed to stop while pregnant but only at the cost of many pounds of weight gained and then valiantly lost with each pregnancy.

SOURCE Young Freddy with George    

 Then came the "surprise" baby, George, born in 1990, 16 years after Arthur. Prince Charles, who'd been a pioneering father in the delivery room back in '74, again took a stand for father's and took paternity leave to be with Mummy and baby for a full 6 weeks. 

Our Prince Arthur is such a retiring lad. Who’d have thought he’d stand up to Granny and demand the Navy wait until he had his Ph.d in Zoology from Cornell? His love of tropical fish was the subject of his well-received documentary last year, and he's even had a show for charity of his water colors of the fish and written a series successful children’s books featuring them.  

SOURCE  Shy Arthur(far right) 1st day at Eton
 He had a struggle to fit in at Eton, but his father wouldn’t have sent him to Gordonstoun for anything. We all remember the boy in the strange uniform cringing into the camera on his first day at Eton. And then there was the driving license photo op as he took a spin for the press in an an antique Land Rover to prove his mastery of the gear box. Finally there was his humiliating arrival at the University of Reading where girls tore open their tops to “welcome” him! Poor lad. No wonder he bolted to America for a few years!

SOURCE Wedding Crowds

We blinked and there was a confident, happy  Arthur  stepping off the plane with his Kiwi bride, Jane. An equine veterinarian was a good choice to win Mummy’s approval. The shy couple reluctantly agreed to the traditional Westminster Abbey wedding and were warmly rewarded by the crowds for letting their big day be so public.

SOURCE 4 Generations or Windsors
It’s been quite a while since there were three generations of heirs in the que. But Arthur’s young lad Henry is all boy. We’ve seen him on his adored Uncle Freddy’s motorbike and on his Grandfather’s horse after Trooping the Colour and he does love action! This is a new type royal. One with a working Mum in her own veterinary practice and with a father who mixes royal duties with the job of University lecturer  (and how marvelous that he donates his meager salary for scholarships). Young Henry’s is the world of Play Station, Karate lessons, and rugby at his day school, Hill House where his grandfather went and the only school he enjoyed. How many times have we laughed as Camilla hustled one or more of her own brood up those school steps--fashionably late as always?  Granny Camilla is often STILL seen doing the school run with Henry just as she did with her own four and never minds nipping into McDonald’s after school or supplying a Mars bar for Karate practice. She’s become the nation’s favorite Gran. And Henry is truly a new generation of royal. We look forward to seeing him grow up in the coming years.  

SOURCE H.M.'s Great-Granddaughter

Henry’s little sister, Helena is still too young to be out-and-about much, but she’s always along for the Windsor Horse Show and the Badminton Horse Trials. None of them miss that. She looks absurdly like Her Majesty at the same age and clearly adores dogs just like her. Not for her the starched Nanny Mabel who brought up her Grandfather and Father. Her care-givers are a Swedish Au Pair and an Australian nanny--both of whom prefer jeans!

The other Wales children are starting to settle down as well. Charlotte, the Olympic three-day eventer will be trying for her first gold in London this year. Her boyfriend of the moment is a posh one and looks to be a stayer—Captain Rory Smythe of the Household Calvalry is just her sort. No one believed for a minute that she’d stay with that dull chinless Martin Whosits from the City. Rory has country written all over him --as well he should to join this family. 

Young George surprised everyone by earning a music scholarship to Eton. Of course the money went to a child from a state school, but George's career has advanced steadily. Her attended the Royal Academy of Music on his own merit and now combines royal duties with his professional situation as a cellist in a regional symphony orchestra. Charles and Camilla, who named him for his Opera-loving cousin the Late Lord Harewood, are avid supporters of his career and have quietly underwritten the last two seasons to boost the symphony's funds appeal.


 "The Quiet Prince” as he is known is the much-loved baby of the family and was often seen as a youngster tagging along with his parents to royal events.   He has been seen from time-to-time with a Duke’s younger daughter but there’s been no announcement of an engagement though word is she’s being given a trial run for the job. His grandfather, Philip, is a big supporter and comes out for as many of his charity cricket matches as possible and always made time to run down to Eton to see him play with the first Eleven.

Source Freddy and Charlie practicing polo last summer
But of all the Wales children it's Frederick, "Our Freddy" (or "Fox Hound Freddy" to the gutter press), who gets our love. The strapping 6' 4" Household Calvary officer is the hottest ticket going. A mirror image of his Grandfather Philip, totally oozing Mountbatten good looks and charm (there's seemingly no Windsor or Shand in this one), Freddy is the Prince Charming of the fairy tales. It was the photo from Afghanistan of him trying to save a badly wounded little girl that sealed our love of him forever.
He’s a lad’s lad, but a cool officer who brings his men back alive when he’s in the field in Afghanistan.
No amount of partying or international polo junkets can tarnish his halo. Not even that ridiculous
strip poker game in which his was photographed twirling his boxers on a finger while a busty naked blonde egged him on can damage him in any way. "He's so normal," everyone says  He is simply adored. Now that he's decided to settle down and announced his engagement to the sensible doctor's daughter, met when he crashed her friend's Hen Party, he seems to be trying to shed the party-boy image at last.

SOURCE Radiant Anne on her wedding day

But there's more to the Queen's family than just the Waleses. Next come Princess Anne and her husband, Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles-- "the PBs." The press can never seem to get a royal romance right! After all they said Charles could never marry Camilla because she supposedly had a "past." They blew it on Anne, too, saying she'd marry the rather dull but supposedly randy horseman, Lt. Mark Phillips. Idiots! He was dating her lady-in-waiting for goodness sake! And, even if his grandparents had hunted with the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester back in the 20s and 30s, he really wasn't up joining the Royals. So she married what her mother knew she badly needed--an older man with an excellent knowledge of horse flesh (and woman flesh according to the tabloids). Their marriage had it's "wandering" years (that silly story of an EQUERRY writing her love letters!) but they've stuck it out and seem to have an agreeable relationship these days. Of course Anne's extensive travel for Save the Children and all her other royal engagements keep them apart a lot and this likely helps. 

Never much for little children Anne produced daughter Elizabeth a year and a day after the wedding and then had son Charlie three weeks after Prince Freddy's birth. Ellizabeth, of course, is the well known steeplechase jockey who seems to win every race and has her own range of sporting wear. And "Good time Charlie" is joined at the hip with cousin Freddy. They went thru Eton together, took their gap year together playing polo in Argentina and finally entered Sandhurst together. And what luck that they even both ended up in the Blues and Royals together. Like Freddy, Charlie has grown up at last and finally married his long-time girl friend Lady Penelope Grantham, a horse-mad former hockey player he's lived with for the last few years. Their child is expected in November making him or her the "Jubilee Baby." Freddy being Freddy it wouldn't surprise anyone if we see a daughter named "Diamond" to commemorate it!

SOURCE Camilla with Andrew Parker-Bowles
SOURCE  Charles with Edward & Diana
Then, at the other end of the balcony are Prince Edward, and his lovely wife the former Lady Diana Spencer. "The Wessex family" as we call them. She used to be such a sweet, shy mouse of a girl--always ducking her head and wearing flats to hide her height.  It was only after she was invited to head up “Mummy-to-Uni ,” a campaign to get mothers to finish their educations that she began to blossom. She studied nursing and was doing well until that idiotic man went public with his “miraculous” healing by her hands. She started believing she was a “healer.” Edward couldn't stand it and lived alone at Windsor for a time. The requests for her "healing" overwhelmed the Palace. Finally she was forced to make a public address disavowing any special healing ability. It seems she and Edward have patched it up though and both are seen together regularly at a pub near their country home on the Sandringham estate.

SOURCE Diana with Charles
Funny about those two.  Her face always lit up when Charles came in the room. There were even rumors that he looked her over during one of Camilla’s bolt-hole periods when she escaped to small home in the country to get away from the royal round for a while. But the Grannies knew best and after meeting over tea with the Queen Mother on a lovely summer’s day, the Diana and Edward were soon seen daily on the tennis courts together. Edward was so young, but Diana being just those few years older helped steer him onto a better course. Thank heavens she got him to see reason and not do that dreadful royal game show thing!  And a prince working in THEATRE?? No, it was much better that he married so young. Much better that he head up the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and travel a lot. They are such good parents though—always there for the twins. Never failing to turn up for sports days and always home for school holidays when they have even been known to do without all but security staff and even cook together. Edward even let slip that he knows how to do laundry though Diana giggled and added “not very well.” The public loved it.

Source  Charles helps Diana with her son as they leave Christmas Church with the family
SOURCE Edward & daughter

Their twins, Alice and Alexander have the flaming red Spencer hair and aren’t well known. Alexander was at Eton of course and Alice followed her cousins to one of those now co-ed public schools—Wellington? Marlborough? Charterhouse? One of those.  Alice is nurse, married to a social worker and lives a normal life in a newly renovated home in Shepard’s Bush. She’s rarely seen on the balcony any more. Alexander does something in the City. He was a smart one and went to Cambridge like his father. He’s usually seen in the company of a young oral surgeon and they’ve been seen looking at luxury flats in fashionable parts of the city.

Rounding off the Queen's family, down there standing with assorted Armstrong-Joneses, Gloucesters and Kents, are "The Yorks," as Prince Andrew and wife Sarah are known.Andrew showed he was made of sterner stuff than his father ever thought by refusing to divorce HIS Sarah. Idiotic tabloids! Couldn’t his father see the pictures were just stupid boozy holiday snaps. Probably he shouldn’t have nodded off in front of golf on the telly and should have been pool side, but still.  It was all just jolly fun! Andrew, as always, put a protective arm around Sarah. He had reason to be proud of her.  

Since joining Diana on the "Mummy-to-Uni" campaign and (inspired by daughter Beatrice's dyslexia) becoming a reading specialis Sarah has been an inspiration-- a new person. It was so ridiculous of that Oprah woman to want to interview her though! Good thing she brushed that off! Of course it was tough having a career while moving around with the Navy but they’d won that battle too. They lived like a normal naval officer’s family, albeit with a security detail and country home for holidays. Philip thought it made Sarah look lazy, but Her Majesty fondly remembered her own days as a navy wife and couldn’t refuse her favorite son’s request. An Admiral today, Andrew set an example for balanced family life in the forces.


 And the York girls have turned out so nicely. Beatrice has a good degree, a career in the City and long-standing relationship with her dishy rich boyfriend. Eugenie, just starting her career in an art gallery, is pretty much an unknown. Both look like they’ll do fine.  

 I hope you've enjoyed today's look at our Royal Family. They ARE a National Treasure. We're so blessed to escape the messes in other Royal Houses! No messy divorces or secretly taped conversations for House of Windsor--just happy families getting on with their lives like any other.


Susan said...

Oh my -- where to begin? I loved this! Reading through it made me realize just how much misery there has been in the REAL family ... I like your version better. Too bad they didn't have the advantage of hindsight so they could make better decisions. All the photos, names, etc. are just genius!!! My personal favorite: Mummy-to-Uni. Oh my ... I love this. I think you ought to publish it as a .99 ebook!

Susan said...

Had to come by and enjoy this again. That toddler *is* a dead ringer for a little QEII! What caused Charles' depression?

Hopewell said...

The Toddler in the Parka is HM's great granddaughter, Savanna Phillips.

The depression was from Lord Mountbatten's assassination and seems to have been real--it was soon after that he got involved with Diana.