An Open Letter to Camilla Parker Bowles

To: Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles, c/o Clarence House, London, England

Dear Camilla,

I know it's bad form to address you by your Christian name when we've never formally met. But "Mrs. Parker Bowles" seems so formal. After all, I've read so much about you (and of course listened to that saucy "Camillagate" tape) that I feel I know you. At least well enough for a little woman-to-woman chat.

First of all, let me say, in all sincerity, congratulations on your impending nuptials. In fact, You go, girl!

It's been a rough week for you and your honey, I know. Prince Charles is said to be mighty peeved that the wedding had to be postponed for a day so that he could go to the pope's funeral. (What, they can't hold funerals on Thursday at the Vatican?) All the papers were blathering on about it: "Camilla's Big Day Is Jinxed," blared the headline in the Daily Express. "No Wedding and a Funeral," chortled the Daily Mirror.

Let them have their little laugh. Because in the long run, it's not going to matter.

No Reason for Doom and Gloom

Given the number of problems that have already beset this wedding, some people (and reporters) are wondering what will go wrong next. "It's all gone wrong from the start," The Sun newspaper said, quoting a senior royal source as saying Queen Elizabeth II feels the her eldest son's wedding is "jinxed. It's a huge embarrassment and makes the royal family a laughingstock."

Why all this doom and gloom? Having to push back your wedding a day is not exactly a catastrophe, unless the caterers say they can't show and then keep your deposit.

Holding the civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall instead of the castle? Who cares. Having your future mother- and father-in-law boycott the actual wedding? Boo-hoo. Like you'll miss them.

None of these count as wedding disasters. Now if you want a wedding disaster, consider:

The 1906 nuptials of King Alphonso XIII of Spain and Princess Ena of Battenberg, a granddaughter of Britain's Queen Victoria. As the newlyweds traveled from the cathedral to the palace after the ceremony, someone threw a bomb at their carriage, causing massive carnage. The 18-year-old bride was not injured, but she wandered around the reception with blood on her gown, repeating dazedly, "I saw a man without any legs."

And what about the engagement of Henry VIII to his third queen, Jane Seymour? It was announced on May 20, 1536. Henry was a newly single man, since just the day before he had had his second wife, Anne Boleyn, relieved of her head. And yes, it was a bad omen. Henry and Jane were married May 30. Less than a year and half later, Jane died after giving birth to a son.

And here's a sad wedding story that's a little closer to home: In 1937, Prince Louis of Hesse and Margaret Geddes were married in heavy mourning, because the groom's entire family -- his widowed mother, brother, sister-in-law and two small nephews -- were killed in a plane crash while en route to the wedding. (The sister-in-law, Princess Cecile, was a sister of the very same Prince Philip who's about to become your father-in-law, Camilla.). Prince Louis and his new wife adopted the sole survivor of the family, a baby daughter named Johanna who had been left at home, but the child died of meningitis two years later.

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