In Defense of Charles

I know there are plenty of you out there who could not care less about the Royal Family, the Royal Baby, any of it.  Move along, I’m sure there are plenty of blogs out there talking about important things.  Or silly things.  Or interesting things.  Something that interests you while this does not.

For anyone that is still here, I have noticed a lot of Charles bashing in the American Press these last few days/weeks.  Everyone wants to know if William and Kate will raise Prince George in the method of dear departed Diana, or in the method of evil bad guy Charles, with the majority of support going towards Diana.  Of course, Americans prefer Diana.  She went against the royalty in so many ways, tried to push back as much as she could, much like the U.S. went against the monarchy back in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.   But look at Charles, who I think has more reason than anyone else to go against the monarchy in its traditional rolls, and try to move things forward.  In other words, I think that he and Diana were probably more in synch on parenting than anyone would like to admit.  Just because they couldn’t get along, that they were so ill suited together he couldn’t even admit to loving her on their honeymoon, doesn’t mean they couldn’t be at least a bit in synch as parents.  Charles really just wanted to marry Camilla.  Could he?  No, she wasn’t a royal.  He had to marry Diana, a 19 year old aristocrat he didn’t know that well, and with whom he had little in common.  He treated her like crap, from all we’ve seen, and they both suffered mightily.  But don’t you think that just maybe, he learned something from all of that?  From his affair, and from hers?  From the trouble they caused the monarchy?  From the pain they caused their families and their children?

I look at William and Kate, and how they dated for something like 10 years.  How they lived together before marriage.  She’s not a virgin, and didn’t have to pretend to be one.  She’s not a royal.  They have managed a great deal of privacy throughout the years.  They have done their best to make sure they were both ready for the onslaught of public interest that would come with their marriage and kids, before they had them.  Seeing the punishing amount of public interest, I cannot imagine treading into such a life lightly.  (Hello, people commenting on her figure one day after she gave birth?  Asshats.)  Somehow, I think that maybe Charles (and who knows, even Elizabeth may have noticed the times they are a changing, and may have been behind some of these changes…I’m not sure they could have happened if she weren’t at least looking the other way) is a fan of these changes.  Why would any of us want our children to suffer the same miserable failures that we have suffered?

I give full credit to William, for seeing what happened to his parents and for wanting something different.  I give full credit to Diana, for giving a warm, loving face to a monarchy that appeared cold and aloof.  But I also give credit to Charles, for seeing what went wrong in his life, and hoping to make it better for his kids.

This entry was posted in Culture.

7 thoughts on “In Defense of Charles

  1. And Charles is the one who works for global climate issues, environment, healthier living which are not that popular with many aristocrats and he gets called a wacko for it. It is a shame he didn’t hold out for the woman he wanted, but as you said, it’s understandable how he felt he had to do what was best for the monarchy, what you might call the family business. I hope they don’t pass over him to make William the next king as some suggest they should. He’s waited into old age to get the position and might be an old old man before he does.

    I was happy to see William and Kate as he drove her, as they tried to do this baby business like normal if wealthy people. Hopefully the ‘family business’ won’t damage their marriage as they say there are many there who try to dominate to protect not just the monarchy but their own careers.

    The baby was good news this week and the world needed good news. There is way too much weird, disappointing, or tragic news.

    • I also hope that they don’t pass over Charles. I doubt they will. There was much more talk of that years ago, but it seems now that he and Camilla are settled, and Diana is out of the picture, however tragically, the talk has subsided.

  2. I’ve never been a fan of Charles. I understand what you’re saying about his positive contributions to society, but anyone who wants to be married to Camilla is suspect in my book. Of course, if he becomes King and turns out to be the best one ever, I’ll eat my words. I wish him well, but cannot abide his wife– who, as I understand it, will never be a queen. A fact that makes me smile.

    • I don’t know that he’ll be the best king ever. I just feel for him. He and Camilla wanted to marry, but his parents wouldn’t allow it. She married someone else, he married someone else. I don’t have anything against Camilla, except that she was willing to cheat on her husband with a married man…then again, so was Diana. In a complicated family like that, I’d try to not pass judgement. I sometimes wonder what kind of marriage they could have had, if he were allowed to marry her to begin with? The kids might not be as good looking, and perhaps he wouldn’t have learned the lessons he needed to learn about the brutality of the monarchy, the brutality of the press, all of that. The fact that he learned those things are likely better for the kids.

      I liked Diana a lot actually. She was beautiful and resilient and went through a lot of crap. She was caring and tried her best with her kids and with the charities she signed up to support. I guess my point was, I think with the kids, we don’t need to take sides. They both saw the mistakes they made, and tried to make it better for their kids. That’s all a parent can do, really.

  3. There is an enormous cultural gap between American mores and British royal mores. I think Diana herself, even, was naïve to her situation with regard to Camilla.

    Having said that, the few interviews I’ve seen and read with Prince Charles show that he is quite intelligent and forward thinking. He is patiently waiting his turn, and his mother has given her word that she will serve her country until her death. It’s completely foreign to our American sensibilities–this whole royal thing–and we can’t conceive of the courtliness of it, the absolutism of it, the stringent protocol of it.

    I remember saying, “Oh, no. Why would anyone do that to herself?” the day that the engagement was announced for William and Kate. I still wonder. And the British press, especially, prove my point daily.

    • I agree, why would she want that? It’s crazy. But she’s British, too, so perhaps she’s willing. I mean, our movie stars go through a lot of the same crap, and that’s voluntary also. Poor William doesn’t have a choice.

      I have heard so many times, why doesn’t Elizabeth step aside and let Charles be King? What a sexist idea. And probably American. Also that he should step aside when the time comes and let William be King. Again, as you say, I don’t think American’s GET IT. It’s a very old institution, with very old rules. I’ll admit to being interested in it perhaps more than I should be, but I don’t pretend to understand it all.

      One thing I’ve seen in comments online a few time is people complaining, “Why do they still call her ‘Kate Middleton’?” Um, because she’s not a Princess, and ‘Duchess Kate’ sounds kind of awkward, to our American ears. Also, really, her title, were she not the Duchess, would be Princess William, not Princess Kate. But oh well.

  4. I sometimes feel that American’s are a lot keener on our monarchy than we are! The problem with Charles, all issues of fatherhood aside, is his tendency to intervene and not always positively. The one thing that everyone, (lower case) republican and royalist alike, has to give Elizabeth II credit for is that she’s always played by the unwritten but ironclad constitutional rules – the monarchy is neutral. Their position depends on it. Charles tends to intervene in policy and whilst that has its good points, it also has its weaknesses – his support of homeopathy. He and Tony Blair clearly didn’t get on (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jul/01/alastair-campbell-tony-blair-prince-charles).

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