FRANKLY, who gives a damn? Prince Charles has squandered most of the goodwill he could once draw on as Heir to the Throne. Yesterday Lady Thatcher showed she is still in touch with public feeling; arriving for the opening of the Churchill Museum in Whitehall she was asked for her reaction to the news of the marriage, and replied: “We are not talking about that. We have slightly more important things to talk about.” The young Camilla Shand first met the young prince at a Windsor polo game in 1970 when she is said to have told him: “My great–great–grandmother was your great–great–grandfather's mistress. So what about it?” They were close for a while but he chose to be with the men in the Royal Navy and by the time he returned Camilla had accepted Andrew Parker Bowles' offer of marriage. What a different story it might have been if he had followed his first (and last) instinct and popped the question to Camilla when he had the chance. Princess Diana would have spared the embarrassment of telling the Queen that “there are three of us in this marriage” and the nation the trauma of her death. The constitutional experts have been having a field day. What title should Camilla be given? Since they are to be married at Windsor Castle, what about Duchess of Windsor. No? Why not? Oh! Of course. Well, at least let's be grateful that she didn't convert to Roman Catholicism when she married Parker Bowles otherwise we would have been in real trouble. On a personal level everyone will hope that marriage to Camilla will give Charles the stability that he obviously needs and that Princes William and Harry will also benefit. But on a constitutional and monarchical level the wedding will really be a non–event.
By Ray Fleming.