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Home > Culture and Society

Charles and Camilla: Not quite 1981 all over again

11 February 2005

Cast your mind back to the heady days of 1981 and the royal wedding. It was an exciting time, and not just for tea towel manufacturers. There were street parties, adoring crowds, Union Jacks everywhere, endless TV coverage and commemorative mugs. Lots and lots of mugs.

However, it's hard to imagine quite the same level of excitement accompanying the marriage of Charles and Camilla. Without putting too fine a point on it, Camilla is no Diana-alike and Charles is a dork. Yes, a tiny bit of the magic has gone.

However, this didn't stop Blair, the cabinet, Michael 'Fucking' Howard et al rushing to congratulate the unlovely couple. It seems however much the royals make fools of themselves, there's still a deeply royalist streak in us Brits.

But maybe this time round we can get over our dopey obsession with the royals, an obsession that has been fuelled by our dumb media, mainly the tabloids, with BBC and ITV journalists trotting along behind like so many corgis.

The relationship between the tabloids and the royals is actually pretty revolting. Back in 1981 the tabloids collectively went mad, portraying the marriage as, simply, The Best Thing Ever. Anyone who hadn't got fluff for brains wondered whether mismatched Charles and Diana had much of a future, but if you
dared to say it you'd probably have been disembowelled with a novelty union jack and strung up with bunting from the nearest lamp post.

But years later, after giving the marriage way too much to live up to, and subjecting Charles and Diana to a terrifying level of press intrusion, the tabloids began to realise they could sell even more papers detailing every possible aspect of the failing marriage.

Thus it's not entirely surprising that the royals tend to turn out a bit weird. If you can face it, read Paul Burrell's book and begin to realise what a horrific level of scrutiny Charles and Di were subjected to. (Burrell also inadvertently details what a downright *strange* world the royals live in - at one level they're just a bunch of hoorays larking about with horses, guns and gin, but at another they believe their own propaganda - they really do think they're rulers, wielding power and influence in their kingdom. Oh the twats.)

But maybe the whole royal family has become a little too rubbish these days for a re-run of 1981. Charles and Camilla have decided to get married in a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle, something of a downscaling from Charles's previous hitching, and which suggests they think it might be wise to keep their heads down for a bit.

Which is fine by us. All that needs to happen now is for Harry to realise that attending Holocaust remembrance ceremonies dressed as Joseph Mengele is a bit silly, and maybe the royals will slowly fade out of the public consciousness.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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