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Prince Harry phoned home
Prince Harry spoke to his father, King Charles, before making his decision to come to the coronation, British tabloid the Sun on Sunday has reported. The newspaper’s report that the pair spoke after the publication of Harry’s memoir Spare will be seen as an encouraging sign that bridges may yet be rebuilt between Harry and the family. Although the Sun is very light on detail about the alleged conversation, it cites a source as saying there was a “willingness and wanting to mend on both sides.”
Harry is understood to have still not spoken to his brother William, who as The Daily Beast has been told, is infuriated by what he sees as his brother’s betrayal of him and the institution by revealing family secrets and details of intimate moments in his book.
The Sun said that he “ended months of no contact with Charles by holding a conversation about the invitation” although words with William have yet to be exchanged.
Camilla ‘hurt’ by Harry’s attacks
Queen Camilla was “hurt” by Prince Harry’s characterization of her as a villain in his memoir, Spare, a friend has revealed.
In the memoir, Harry writes of his stepmother campaigning, at Harry’s self-perceived cost, in the British press for acceptance as King Charles’ partner after Princess Diana’s death. “I even wanted Camilla to be happy. Maybe she’d be less dangerous if she was happy,” he writes.
“She was the villain. She was the third person in their marriage. She needed to rehabilitate her image,” Harry told Anderson Cooper of Camilla’s position after Diana died.
Asked by Cooper how Camilla was dangerous, Harry replied, “Because of the need for her to rehabilitate her image,” which made her dangerous “because of the connections that she was forging within the British press. And there was open willingness on both sides to trade of information. And with a family built on hierarchy, and with her, on the way to being Queen Consort, there was gonna be people or bodies left in the street because of that…
“If you are led to believe, as a member of the family, that being on the front page, having positive headlines, positive stories written about you, is going to improve your reputation or increase the chances of you being accepted as monarch by the British public, then that’s what you’re gonna do.”
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Camilla’s close friend the Marchioness of Lansdowne—an interior designer known professionally as Fiona Shelburne—said, “Of course it bothers her, of course it hurts. But she doesn’t let it get to her. Her philosophy is always, ‘Don’t make a thing of it and it will settle down—least said, soonest mended.’”
“It was not stamping of feet or gnashing of teeth, it was much more of an eye-roll response,” an aide says of Camilla’s response to Harry’s memoir and interviews.
Presumably, Harry and Camilla will soon come face to face at Charles’ coronation; and it was Camilla, alongside Prince William, who was in Harry’s sights in the memoir, and accompanying interviews.
Both Harry and William asked Charles not to marry Camilla, Harry told Cooper. “We didn’t think it was necessary. We thought that it was gonna cause more harm than good and that if he was now with his person, that— surely that’s enough. Why go that far when you don’t necessarily need to? We wanted him to be happy. And we saw how happy he was with her. So, at the time, it was, ‘OK.’”
In the memoir Harry says during his first formal introduction to Camilla, they were both “calm or bored.” “Neither of us much fretted about the other’s opinion. She wasn’t my mother, and I wasn’t her biggest hurdle. In other words, I wasn’t the Heir.”
Harry writes that he welcomed Charles and Camilla’s announcement they would marry, even if the ceremony was delayed. “Other than feeling sorry for them, I couldn’t help but think that some force in the universe (Mummy?) was blocking rather than blessing their union. Maybe the universe delays what it disapproves of?”
Still, “when the wedding did finally take place—without Granny, who chose not to attend—it was almost cathartic for everyone, even me…I did sneak several long peeks at the groom and the bride and each time I thought: Good for you. Though, also: Goodbye. I knew without question that this marriage would take Pa away from us… I didn’t relish losing a second parent, and I had complex feelings about gaining a step-parent who, I believed, had recently sacrificed me on her personal PR altar.
“But I saw Pa’s smile and it was hard to argue with that, and harder still to deny the cause: Camilla. I wanted so many things, but I was surprised to discover at their wedding that one of the things I wanted most, still, was for my father to be happy. In a funny way I even wanted Camilla to be happy. Maybe she’d be less dangerous if she was happy?”
“It was horrible at times, but her sense of humor and knowing she had her girlfriends around her got her through.”
— Lady Lansdowne
The Sunday Times profile of Camilla features not only Lady Lansdowne, but a number of people who know her mostly speaking in Camilla’s favor. Lady Lansdowne said the 90’s was “incredibly tough” for Camilla, with public feeling so dead-set against her following the revelations of Charles’ adultery with her. “She was out on her own without any protection. That was where we could help—she would come and stay with us with the children,” Lansdowne said.
“I went and got her out of (Camilla’s then-home) Middlewick one day, there were cameras up against all her windows. But she is resilient, she was brought up with this extraordinary sense of duty where you got on with it, don’t whinge, put your best face on and keep going, and it has stood her in very good stead. It was horrible at times, but her sense of humor and knowing she had her girlfriends around her got her through.”
Lady Lansdowne is one of Camilla’s group of close female friends, now named as “Queen’s companions.” She tells the Times she never believed “in a million years” that Camilla would end up queen. “She didn’t ever assume anything about whether they could even be together. It was never any sort of plan. It would make her laugh just to think of it [then]. It was quite daunting [when they married] but nothing she couldn’t cope with. Once they were married she knew what was coming. The extraordinary thing is that she has taken it on now at 75. It’s a hell of a thing to be doing when most of us are settling down into retirement.”
In 2007, Camilla turned down William and Harry’s invitation to a memorial service for their mother, the paper reports. “It was the one time we really disagreed,” a former aide told the paper. “I was thinking like a PR guy—‘Wow, they invited her, big moment.’ But she stepped back and saw it in the bigger frame. Her instinct was not to go, she felt it would be a distraction. She would be part of the focus when it should all have been on the memory of the princess. She was right.”
Today, Camilla is a commanding presence in the palace’s patriarchal environment. “You can see it with the rehearsals for the coronation—getting her voice heard has sometimes been challenging,” a source close to Camilla told the paper. “But she is making sure her voice is heard by going, ‘This is what I think about it,’ and by talking to the King. He wants to make his wife happy, she has earned that right. She is anxious it should go well and has instincts about ways it might be better tweaked.”
Lady Lansdowne said: “She’s not going to be pushed about. She won’t have a hissy fit, but she’ll say, ‘No, I want it done this way.’ It’s an incredibly important date for both of them, she needs to know her part.”
“She is, as far as she is concerned, the only person who should be able to convince him of anything.”
— Royal source
In the palace Camilla is known as “the lady boss,” an “operator,” who, one source reveals, “can be steely as f***. She would have made a brilliant 16th-century courtier, because she’s canny.” The Times says she was instrumental in making sure Charles’ longtime aide Michael Fawcett was dispatched, after it was revealed he arranged an honor for a billionaire Saudi donor, explicitly in return for donations.
A royal source told the Times Camilla was “merciless in her pursuit of Michael out of the door.” Another source said this was “more about retaining pole position with Charles” than loyalty. “She is, as far as she is concerned, the only person who should be able to convince him of anything. She became more and more opinionated about how she disliked [Fawcett] and made it plain she didn’t want him around.”
The Times adds, “Several other courtiers in recent years have experienced Camilla’s deep freeze treatment when she decided their time was up, and by all accounts it is a very icy chill.”
Netflix is happy Harry’s going to the Coronation
Well, Netflix is happy that Prince Harry is returning to Britain for King Charles’ coronation—deeming their golden goose by proximity to his family.
“Harry is going back for all the right reasons, but there was a palpable sigh of relief among those of us involved in the business because Brand Sussex relies on Harry being seen with his family,” a Netflix source told the Mail on Sunday. “At the end of the day it is all about proximity to the king.”
The paper says Harry will likely fly back to California as soon as possible after the service, so he can get back in time for son Archie’s birthday celebrations, although a place will be set for him at the post-Coronation lunch.
Hollywood figures wonder what Harry and Meghan are planning next. A senior executive at Walt Disney Studios told the paper: ‘What Harry and Meghan do next is the $64,000 question everyone in Hollywood is asking. They are at a turning point because they’ve done the Netflix series and Harry’s done his book. You could argue the bloom is starting to fade from the rose. What is their currency? Their main selling point is their link to the Royal Family. Harry has to be there [at the Coronation]. In America, this is all part of the narrative. Harry has to go back and he’s either embraced, which is wonderful, or he’s not—which will keep the narrative going. The story has to keep evolving because that is what builds the brand and brings the offers in.
“The danger Harry and Meghan face is becoming irrelevant. Americans care about the royal family. We’ve always been fascinated by the royals. Harry is Diana’s son, nothing will ever change that. But the American public needs to see he’s still part of the family because his family and their drama is what we’re interested in.” The paper says Meghan is lined up to make a second series of her Archetypes podcast on Spotify. She is also working on a book.
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Strangers on a train
It seems utterly absurd now, but the big royal story that had the tabloids clutching their pearls in November 1980 was a rumor that virginal Princess Diana, who was then merely engaged to the then-Prince Charles, had snuck aboard the royal train for a pre-nuptial encounter with Charles.
The story was hotly denied at the time by the palace, although the newspaper that reported it, the Sunday Mirror, always refused to publish a correction or a clarification. However, now, a new ITV documentary, The Real Crown: Inside the House of Windsor, a friend of Diana’s, James Colthurst has claimed that Diana, “thought that the visitor was probably Camilla.”
The name of Colthurst will be familiar to students of the Princess Diana story as he was the go-between who carried tapes back-and-forth between Princess Diana and Andrew Morton for his 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story.
Diana said of the incident, per the Telegraph, “I was so shocked, I simply couldn’t believe it. I’ve never been anywhere near the train, let alone in the middle of the night. Even though they rang me up first, they printed it anyway. Afterwards they rang up to apologize, but that doesn’t change peoples’ minds about what they think when they read a story like that.”
Could it be magic?
It wouldn’t be a royal event without a cheesy pop concert, and the coronation weekend will indeed conclude with a “coronation concert” from the grounds of Windsor Castle. There has been some speculation that the organizers have struggled to attract stellar talent to perform at the show, with an early rumor that the Spice Girls were going to perform soon being dismissed.
Now, however, the first big names have been announced, and they include the quintessentially British Take That (minus Robbie Williams), and the not so quintessentially, British Lionel Richie and Katy Perry. The BBC reports that the show will be based on themes of love, respect and optimism. Perry and Richie have both been involved with various Charles charities over the years.
No invite for Fergie
Not invited to the big day, however, is Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, as The Daily Beast reported this week. To be fair, Fergie has given a series of interviews in recent weeks saying she really wouldn’t expect an invitation. Still, the Royalist thinks an opportunity for the king to display generosity of spirit has been missed—and we would have liked to see her there.
It all depends how you count it
King Charles has a personal wealth of £600 million ($730 million), making him much richer than his late mother, The Sunday Times, compiler of an annual British rich list, has claimed.
Citing a former advisor, The Times said that Charles worked hard to accrue funds after the “wipeout” of his £17million ($20 million) divorce settlement to Diana, saying, “He became prudent, tucking away, some money from the Duchy after that wipeout. Charles is still something of a pauper, however, compared to Britain’s super rich, and will not even be in the top 250 richest people in the country when the full list is published. The calculation excludes the £15.6 billion ($19 billion) Crown Estate, which is technically owned by the king, but practically owned by the state. Charles gets 25% of its profits.
This week in royal history
Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in London.
Are relations really unfreezing between Charles and Harry—and could William follow? How will Harry be handled at the Coronation? Where will he be seen and welcome—and how long will he stay?
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