In This Fairy Tale, Not One, but Two Queens in Waiting

At Britain’s royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, one of the most uneasy seats in the church may be the one occupied by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Comments: 109

  1. Does anyone on this side of the pond really care about the silliness of the British monarchy? Why do Britons put up with this sideshow?

  2. Wonder how uneasy the uninvted people will feel that day. Our current president and his wife weren't invited. How did that happen?

  3. Camilla would make a dandy Queen. Given that their isn't an issue of her issue succeeding to the throne, I can't see a real constitutional problem, and if the press would lay off her and stop flogging Saint Diana at us, I suspect her acceptance would be complete. I like Camilla for the same reason I like Kate and have always liked Princess Anne: brains and gumption. ("Rottweiler here"? LOL!!!!)

    "Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween, to be a regular royal queen,
    No half-and-half affair, I mean, no half-and-half affair,
    But a right-down regular royal queen!
    ... And everybody will scrape and bow, and double themselves in two,
    And open their eyes in blank surprise at whatever she likes to do.
    And everybody will roundly vow she's fair as flowers in May,
    And say 'how clever!' at whatsoever she condescends to say."

    WS Gilbert was thinking of Victoria, but the words fit Camilla like ... well, like a tiara.

  4. Correction in my post: "there," not "their."

    #1: What good is the monarchy? Aside from its value vis-a-vis tourism, I've often thought America made a mistake in not having a separate public figure as a focus for patriotic and nationalistic sentiments. In England, the Prime Minister handles the politics, while the constitutional monarch is the focus of England's pride and heritage and provides continuity. Many other countries have a prime minister for politics and a president whose duties are mostly ceremonial and/or administrative. PMs come and go, but Elizabeth is like Carlotta Campion: "Good times and bum times, I've seen 'em all, and my dear, I'm still here!"

    By contrast, in the US, patriotic and political sentiments are focussed on one figure/couple, the President and First Lady. This doesn't work too well. In fact, when you have a nontraditional figure such as Obama in the role, it brings out the worst in some people. (Someday there will be a President and First Gentleman ... or perhaps First Domestic Partner ... and/or a President who takes the oath on a Torah ... or, as a nonbeliever, "solemnly affirms" rather than swears on a holy book, which IS quite constitutional.)

    I propose amending the Constitution to establish an equivalent of the constitutional monarchy. Perhaps we could call the couple "Uncle Sam" and "Lady Liberty." They would cut ribbons, hold state dinners, throw out the first ball of the baseball season, etc.

  5. Is it really appropriate to describe Camilla as Charles' long time lover? She is his wife, and has been accepted by his family. And for all Kate is pretty and wears nice clothes, by all other reports she and Camilla share, with Charles and Will, a real love of the countryside and outdoor pursuits.

  6. Let's get on with it. The British monarchy is not truly governing but ceremonial at best now. As was spoken when Charles and Diana married, William and Catherine's wedding will be a welfare wedding befitting none of the poor people who really need the money to be spent on better health care and promoting employment instead of being on the dole. Should Charles and Camilla abdicate in favour of William and Catherine? My question is if Charles abdicates, does not one of HIS siblings (Ann, Andrew or Edward) ascend to the throne before William?

  7. I don't think it's appropriate for Brian Williams or anyone else to ask Camilla whether or not she will be queen. I n order for that to happen, Charles has to be made king, and in order for that to happen, the reigning queen has to die (or step down). Quite improper.

  8. God Bless the AQueen and the Monarchy. I admire the pomp. With that said if they can afford all this Pomp, we can keep Obama another term. THe brits at least have a couple KIngs in waiting and a couple Queens to come along. We have no one yet to emerge.

  9. Prince William is in BIG TROUBLE if his future wife is taking advice from the "Rottweiler!"

  10. Shambolic. Thank God we broke from this charade of a nation which can only succeed at embarrassing itself with such undignified displays of naked classism. These Prussian off-scourings who have arrogated a crown to their heads should be politely disregarded, as one does not pay attention to those who are obviously delusional.

  11. How well she's behaved since the marriage is irrelevant as are any "revelations" about Diana.

    Camilla had an undisputed affair with a married man and helped destroy a rather public marriage - that's just too sordid for the public to forget. I mean, I'm glad she has a sense of humor about it and all, but she can joke just fine as Consort or whatever the title.

  12. Do away with all the royals. Let them earn an honest living.

  13. @#6:

    No, none of Charles' siblings would be next in line if he were to abdicate. The first-born of the first-born is next in line, and that is William.

    It is interesting that the article failed, as all such article have done for the last century, to use the discussion of royal succession to speculate on the future of the British monarchy.

    I argue that if Charles becomes king, the British Monarchy is probably finished, and rightly so. The mere thought of a geriatric, milquetoast Charles as king is enough to make even the most strident defender of the institution say, "Well, enough. Let's bag it and start up the Republic, awright?"

    This idea of passing it to William and avoiding King Charles III is actually aimed at not merely improving the image of the British monarchy, but actually preserving it. It's an idea Americans should be familiar with -- Re-casting a TV show in order to squeeze a few more seasons out of it.

    A Republic for Britain!

  14. I live in Kansas. I could care less about that royalty mess over there. Just glad that we do not have it here.

  15. I don't understand why the British people don't shed these royal leeches! The concept of royalty is one of the most odious ever visited upon mankind by the predatory rich.

  16. Thank you for this article.

    Many here in Canada are quite excited about the upcoming wedding and there are several parties planned here in Victoria, British Columbia and throughout Canada (even a few in Quebec, apparently!).

    William and Kate were wise to choose Canada as the first country in the Commonwealth to visit after the wedding as they have many friends and supporters here. We wish them much good luck and success.

  17. Charles will be king. Once you have Parliament tampering with the succession, as it is already doing vis-a-vis the concept of primogeniture, you open it up to, at extreme, abolition of the monarchy. (Though I question how much they save financially if the monarch is replaced by a president).

  18. Why does anyone think Americans care about British "royalty"? And why do the Brits put up with them and their lavish lives?

  19. I agree that the British monarchy has little relevance for most Americans, but to the very limited degree that I care about them,I like Camilla. It seems to me that the Camilla-Charles love story is the true love story in the whole family. They knew each other in childhood but were forced apart by others' expectations until fate allowed them to be together at a ripe old age. Besides, Rottweilers are great dogs--just odd looking, misunderstood and unnecessarly feared.

  20. I couldn't care less about the sponging royals but I find it interesting that the people of Great Britian, especially during tough economic times, put up with it.

  21. Upon the death of the present Queen, Charles becomes King automatically. His actual crowning would take place at a later time, and on that occasion the issue of the Countess's change of title would be determined. Charles could not abdicate in favor of William, as the rules established in 1936 result in the loss of the crown to the descendants of the monarch who gives it up. The eldest son of the late Princess Margaret (the nephew of the present Queen) would become King. William and the rest of Queen Elizabeth's descendants would be cut out of the line of succession although they would not lose their titles. I am not sure if or how the Prince Charles could be allowed to decline to become King prior to the Queen's death and thereby passing it on to William, thus getting around the abdication question.

  22. I find some of the postings obnoxious and ill informed of the heritage of the United Kingdom. Members of the royal family have served in the Armed forces in both times of war and peace. We were grateful that our King, George V1 and his family, lived through the blitz of London having refused to leave their people at the time of crisis.

  23. One more thing. Asking the British to give up their monarchy is unfair. It is part of their national identity. We started this country and continue this country by being a people willing to give up the national identity of our country of origin. I don't want a monarchy here but if the British keep theirs it is really none of our business. I, being a history buff, just view it as an extention of their History as a Nation.

  24. Why do so many people keep asking why so many Americans care about the British royal family? Do you really not know the answer to that question? Americans care about the real housewives of Orange County. So OF COURSE they care about the British royal family. Geez.

  25. I wish Kate and William well, as I wish all human beings on this earth well. That being said, I, too, fail to see how the British continue to put up with the concept of a monarchy. A few people un-elected into a life of endless luxury, paid for by taxpayers and elevated above the rest? I fail to see how it continues to survive in this modern age. And behind every move I see craven cynicism--surely just coincidence that Kate and William decide to marry during the time of Austerity Britain, just to give the suffering "little people" something to gawp at.

  26. Between all the divorces and giving up just about all their territories over the past 30 years, the bloom is off the British Royal(s) rose. It is nice to believe that Diana and Charles first born son has chosen to marry someone he truly loves. Both of them seem to be have serious but warm personalities. He is his mother's son (thank goodness) so, in the years to come, I suspect the family to modernize quite a lot. I hope never to see the day that Camilla is referred to as "Queen". Her bloodline has not and won't ever be passed through to future generations of the royal family so the title "consort" should fit her perfectly and it should left at that. (They can forget forever trying to erase the memory of Princess Diana and the unhappiness Camilla caused.)

  27. Charles and Camilla have always loved each other. The mistake was that they initially followed tradition by not marrying each other. As Charles became more and more miserable because of Diana's theatrics and affairs, he turned to Camilla for support and grounding. Ultimately they had the courage to reject tradition; divorce their spouses; and marry each other.

    The media loved Diana because she was glamorous and sold well, not because she was a wise and loving person. It speaks to the shallowness of the media.

    To those Republican commenters who keep trying to prove that President Obama was snubbed by not receiving an invitation to the royal wedding - note that presidents and political figures from around the world were not invited. Royalty from many countries were. Where else would the line be drawn given that Westminster Abbey only holds 1300 people?

  28. diana was forgiven lots of things b/c she was pretty and media savy,and the media loved her .she also had affairs while married ,but somehow camilla is the bad for as humanitarian work is concerned,our own angellina jollie has done alot more and she is not even obligated to do it like diana was .

  29. #13: "This idea of passing it to William and avoiding King Charles III ..."

    One could avoid "Charles III" anyway. The monarch can use any of his given names. If Prince William succeeded, he would not necessarily be William V. If Charles succeeded, he could be:
    Charles III (not a name with a happy history, the first was quite rightly beheaded, the second a libertine);
    OR Philip I (not sure about the number -- there may have been a Philip somewhere back in history --but also unlikely, as it would certainly be a slap in the face to Papa);
    OR Arthur (now THAT would require chutzpah, and would he be I or II?!) OR ... drumroll please ... George VII. The Georges were a varied lot; George I didn't even speak English; George III, well, we all know that story; George IV was a wastrel; but II and V weren't too bad, and VI right now is enjoying a vogue.
    As for Charles's being elderly upon coronation, Edward VII succeeded his long-lived mother. He's a intelligent, energetic, outspoken man. I think he'd make a fine king. Vive le roi.

    (Astonishing how many people took the trouble to check out the article, then weighed in to inform us how little they care. ;D I don't care about sports, but I don't fill the sports section with proclamations to that effect.)

  30. To add to your comment, rolandc1, I believe that when one Buckingham Palace was bombed during the Blitz, Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, said “I’m glad we’ve been bombed. Now I feel we can look the East End [heavily bombed because it was a center of shipping supplies and industrial products] in the face.”

  31. The question of Charles becoming king or abdicating seems to be much ado about nothing. I recall a former English king who created death and destruction over his decision to marry a court tart and break off from the pope's control. Then there was James I whose male lovers seemed to pop up everywhere and his grandson Charles II who had too many female lovers to keep track of. Don't forget Edward VIII's fascination with if Charles ascends to the throne at the age of 81 and decides to abdicate immediately, the press will go nuts but those who know the sordid history of the English sovereign will rank it as quite unsensational, a footnote in history.

  32. I enjoy every bit of news about the British Royals. They and their work and lifestyles are just plain fun to watch. Kate is gorgeous, Will is handsome, serious, and hard-working; they are a beautiful couple to represent GB. I have no opinion about who eventually becomes King or Queen - Charles and Camilla, William and Kate - regardless they will still be interesting to me.
    I do wish the best for Will and Kate - they are under a lot of pressure and scrutiny and hopefully will remain strong in their plan to at least try to live normal lives.
    (I do wish someone would tell Mrs. Middleton - Kate's mother - to stop chewing gum at public functions. That particular habit is pretty low class for anyone related to a princess.)

  33. I have never really understood everyone's hatred of Camilla. I always liked her. I felt bad for Diana, but I also felt bad for Charles giving up the love of his life for a woman he didn't really love.

    I happen to like outspoken women, who like to have a drink, have a smoke, and enjoy horseback riding. Definitely more of a feminist and I respect that.

    I am an American though and we are just a bit more tolerant of complexities in people's love lives. My friend from Australia constantly tells me how her divorces would get her hell in her country. And after spending a few years living back and forth between the UK and the US I can see where the dislike for her could come from more conservative Britons. But for me, I always liked the lady but learned quickly not to defend her publicly.

  34. Let's get to the crux of this issue shall we? If Camilla were starlet gorgeous the public would have forgiven her by now and she would have become a media darling selling papers across the globe. Or were she a male public figure who had taken on an indiscretion then too she would be relatively obscure by now regardless of the future. But what Camilla did was break the woman's code of married women.

    And, women, never forget when it is one of their own that break the code--just like men. Albeit women are a bit more dainty about showing how brutal and punishing they can be and for how long. In the women's world you simply do not come to the woman's aid. In our male dominated societies this is a cruel, slow, and lonely social death. And since the media has chastised her for her looks and owe her little loyalty for selling papers--they will see that for all eternity she remains the "ugly" woman.

    I say "Go get um" Camilla.

  35. USA royalty is the almighty dollar and corporate America.

  36. I am English. I am a liberal, and hate the idea of an unelected ruler.

    However, the royalty are not rulers. They have no impact on my day to day life (except having to trawl through papers to find a story not about them right now!) and I believe they are a truly great investment for our country, and are a very important part of our heritage.

    Unlike our identikit politicians, who come and go every few years, the Queen has been a very aspirational figure who can provide a voice of reason in times of political turmoil, and remind us all about what is really important. Some things can stay the same and comfort should be taken in that. She holds a lot of 'soft' power around the world - very little set in law but her words have done an enormous amount of good in advocating peace, moderation and fairness.

    Sure, some of the rituals are strange and archaic. Sure, if Charles becomes king the whole country will die of shame. Sure, most of them are totally clueless about what a lot of British people face in their daily struggles. But they more than pay for themselves in tourism revenue etc, and our current queen continues to do our country proud. I wish I could say the same about our elected representitives.

  37. This thought could have been expressed more clearly:

    "In an interview for this article, Richard Drayton, a professor of history at King’s College, London, said that bypassing Charles would face forbidding obstacles, including 'an act of Parliament, and probably a decision by Charles himself to abdicate.'"

    Who is watching the watchmen? Realistically, if Charles and Parliment were AGAINST "bypassing Charles" then the "bypass" wouldn't even be attempted, would it? and hence there would be no "obstacles," and ordinary succession would take its course.

  38. If my man called me his "princess consort" not his "queen", he'd be out on his ear, double-breasted suit or no.

    England: chill out! Read a little Shakespeare and you'll see the royals have been usurping, double crossing, beheading and - yep - bed-hopping with each other for centuries. It's just 'Skins' on a high budget (iambic pentameter optional).

    And at the end of the day? This stuff sells commemorative tea towels down on Leicester Square. I'm not convinced the royals are part of British identity for my generation (young uns) at all.

  39. The media in the UK are coming to the awful realisation that the vast majority of the UK could care less about these twits. According to a recent poll, 60% of the UK answered don't care either way or not at all interested.
    Go into any shop and all the souvenir wedding stuff is there on sale and still available in massive quantities.
    I, for one amongst many am sick of this dysfunctional family of parasites. I paid forvthe wedding, where's my invite?

    And as for that rubbish about them being good for tourism, France has the largest tourist trade in the world. It worked for them!

  40. If we in the U.S. can allow "The Donald" to become a semi-serious candidate for president, why can't the Brits have their fun with the royals? Since they have no role in national politics and policy-making, they are less dangerous than the lowest-ranking member of Congress.

  41. The idea of royal is an ancient one and perhaps inappropriate for the times. What we are seeing is the branding of a "commoner" into a bloodline that no longer deserves the idea of "royal" or perks that entails... The coat of arms (cute, and I'm going to make one for myself)...The social upscaling of the Middletones...The notion that Kate could one day be queen. God Bless The Queen (and I do), but its time to crown it all here...With the end of that incestuous bloodline, royalty is no more than another brand from which others seeks to make profit.

  42. I don't have a problem with the concept of the British Monarchy as it is now a tradition, America has traditions also but most don't think about it. What really bothers me is that Camilla is ostricised as the "bad guy" and the cause of the breakdown of the marriage of Charles and Diana. The monarchy have historically married to produce heirs. Not for romance. This is not at all new but Diana was not raised to be a Queen. Things are indeed changing. Although Kate is a commoner, I don't believe William was raised to be a staunch monarchist either. They are all getting to be just like the commoners. Elizabeth II is part of a dying breed.

  43. Part of the arrangement Charles made with Parliament in order to gain permission to marry Camilla -- who was divorced, a big No-No in their eyes -- is that she would NOT be made Queen were Charles to ascend to the Throne. He recently hinted that he'd make her Queen when the time came and the public backlash was so severe he had to retract his statement. So I don't see how Charles -- who many don't want to see become King anyway, favoring William (and now his soon-to-be-wife Kate) instead -- could go against the public and make her Queen anyway. He'd be even MORE unpopular than he is now! Not the way to begin the journey of following in his beloved Mother's footsteps.

  44. In the UK, despite a thousand years of agitating for democracy, the old order, monarchy and a feudalistic economic structure, still fight for survival. And in the US, too, we are definitely still fighting to supplant feudalism with democracy. Interesting how old societal structures persist. The old ones must benefit a significant, influential segment of the population or they wouldn't be around anymore.

  45. #27 -- The Obamas and other World Leaders were not invited because, with William NOT the next King of England (that'd still be Charles), it's not considered a State Occasion like the marriage of Charles and Diana was. And it's kind of nice for William and Kate that that's the case because they got to invite more of their friends instead of being relegated to packing the seats with World Leaders they don't know and probably won't have to know. I do think Obama is in London on a State Visit fairly soon, though.

  46. Yes, NYT and many other media outlet: extremely important to read about the British monarchy, particularly at this juncture of economic strife and total uncertainty,in the entire world. Let me add to that, massive weather changes combined with other natural disasters, like the one in Japan, the wars, should I go on? Stop the dreamy smokescreen, who cares about these pompous folks who are loaded? We need solutions for us!!!!!!!

  47. Gentle Readers of the NYT
    Laura from Cleveland is the first reader who has ever written the critical point: If Charles were to drop dead tomorrow, the entire "King William; Queen Cutie-pie" issue would be completely moot.
    With Charles gone the heir to the throne would NOT be William, it would be Prince Andrew. (My guess is the William and Kate might not mind that at all. They could actually enjoy their life together - and do good works.
    So when QE2 went to her reward, Dandy-Andy would become King. That is to say, I THINK he's the next oldest. There IS another brother who is a scholar, and a very good television documentary producer. Sorry, I can not recall his name or age.
    Anyway... assume it is Andrew who becomes King: The heir to the throne after him would be the oldest of his two daughters - again, I don't know their names.
    These classy young ladies (in their 20's, I think), most likely, have grown up not spending a single moment thinking about someday being Queen of England. But the older could find herself there. And that, hypothetically, could turn out to be a very happy surprise. You never know.
    As an historian I have spent a lot of time studying the "battles" within the Royal Family over who would be King or Queen. The complications I describe above would be very mild and "G" rated compared to a lot of their Royal history.

    (I assume they no longer send Royal cousins to the Tower of London where they are beheaded over arguments about who gets the crown. Look up the story of "Lady Jane Grey" who was Queen for a total of nine days before cousin "Mary the First" had Jane arrested and beheaded.
    This was one of those Catholic vs Protestant things.
    The happy part of the story is that Mary I granted Jane’s final request, that he be beheaded with a sharp sword instead of a dull ax.
    After all, she WAS family!!!!)

    What is fun to me is that if the crown went to Andrew, and then to his oldest daughter, the "Queen Mum" would be red-headed "Fergie" - who I really like, but whom the Royal family seems to hate.
    Indeed... as I understand it, Fergie is not even invited to the William and Kate wedding!!!
    Queen Mum Fergie. Wouldn't that be a hoot???!!!
    To all the Royal Watchers... and to William and Kate... I can only suggest the old, old, old saying: "Don't count your chickens before the hatch!"
    Bill McCune, Phoenix [email protected]

  48. I have changed my mind and now think that constitutional monarchy isn't always a bad idea. We could have had a King Ronnie without the disastrous decisions.

  49. They'll spend 30 million on a wedding....why don't they take that money and help the poor. Feed a country in africa

  50. The Royal Family costs 62 pounds per person per year, and that's just their expenditures, not including the upkeep of the castles, which are due for 21 million pounds in renovations this next year.

  51. Well, I guess I ought not to care who becomes queen since I'm not British, but is Camilla's good behavior all it takes to forget the betrayal of a 19-year-old virgin and the callousness which ultimately culminated in Diana's death? But for Camilla, Diana wouldn't have been in that car in Paris. She would have been safe in her palace with her prince.

  52. How sad that once again, such an off-handed comment is made with presumably most not even questioning it:

    '....Camilla, once cast by the tabloids as the most hated woman in the country for her role in dooming Prince Charles’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales...'

    Why was Camilla hated, and not Charles? Who broke their vows to Diana? Certainly not Camilla. When oh when will women stop thinking of other women as their 'enemies', which in the process lets philanderers like Charles get off easy? No one can 'break up a marriage' except for the two people who are married to each other.

  53. Question: When did it become okay for a commoner to become queen?

  54. Royalty: the ultimate symbol of class privilege, tyranny and oppression. Let's celebrate that.

  55. Not a single mention of "Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich"? How truly bizarre.

  56. Oh Bill McCune, why lie on the internet? You're clearly not a historian; virtually everything you've said is completely wrong.

  57. #47:"Dandy-Andy would become King. That is to say, I THINK he's the next oldest. There IS another brother who is a scholar, and a very good television documentary producer. Sorry, I can not recall his name or age."

    The brood, in descending age order: Charles, Anne, Andrew, Edward. They're not a bad lot, really. They work harder, and for more good causes, than anyone on Wall Street. Charles is happy at last with his original love (the minimum compensation, surely, for having been strong-armed into an arranged match with Lady Dimbulb). Andrew and Fergie get along better than any divorced couple I know. Edward and Sophie seem happy. Anne is a modern woman. And the Queen ... well, she's the Queen.(And now I leave this thread for good.)

  58. Yesterday, I watched on YouTube the marriage ceremony of Charles and Diana (I had never viewed it before and all of a sudden was curious). I was particularly struck at how unhappy the two of them looked and how worried the families of both of them looked as they witnessed the ceremony. What a dreadful time it must have been for them and yet all the world was oblivious of their misery and saw only the gilt and the satin flounce.

    I recommend, if you want a very sobering experience in all of this build up to the 'royal wedding' to watch that sad, sad pageant. Everyone of that poor wedding party looked miserable and worried most of the time.

  59. Let's face it: Charles never loved Diana and was still seeing Camilla even when he was engaged to Diana. He simply wanted heirs. He finally married the woman he always had loved and she seems to truly love him. The British people need to be less hypocritical and, if THEY frequently divorce and remarry, all the while remaining Anglicans (at least, those who are practicing), give their whole hearted support to Camilla's eventual rise to Queen, as married partner to the future King Charles.

    I also think that it is agism and appalling for the public to feel that Charles and Camilla are "too old" and "fogyish" to become the next heirs to the throne.

    I applaud Camilla for her remarkable stoicism and Charles for marrying his true love. Now they need to become King and Queen when Elizabeth dies.

  60. I'm confused about the polls favoring William over Charles. Isn't the whole point of being a monarch that no one else dictates who inherits your title?

  61. Interesting to see that Americans seem to care more about this wedding than do the British. Perhaps that's because we don't have to pay for it, or because it beats "Desperate Housewives of [insert any American city]". But the royals are a lovely distraction from all the pressing ills of the world, and that kind of release is something that humans need.

    One note however, not sure how this idea came up that if Charles abdicated or died or otherwise didn't become king, the crown would pass to his brother. Not so under the British Law of Descent. Once someone in direct line to the throne has a child, the childe becomes the heir-presumptive in waiting, and cousins only become relevant if the heir presumptive's issue die or abdicate.

  62. Saw some comments on line of succession. I'm no Royal watcher expert but the line of succession would be the following, I believe:

    Current monarch: HM Queen Elizabeth II, then, The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), then, Prince William of Wales, then, Prince Henry of Wales, then, The Duke of York (Prince Andrew), etc. Prince Andrew would only succeed after Prince William and Prince Harry.

    A person is always immediately followed in the succession by his or her own legitimate descendants (his or her line) except for any legitimate descendants who already appear higher in the line of succession. A person's sons (and their lines) all come before a person's daughters (and their lines). Older sons (and their lines) come before younger sons (and their lines). Older daughters and their lines come before younger daughters and their lines.

  63. ... and to FJ in NYCity, the money that is being spent to put on this extravaganza is all being pumped into the economy and providing jobs and salaries for Britons. Much better use of money than doing what we Americans do -- give it to teeny-bopper rock stars to sock away in Switzerland.

  64. I see the British Royal Family as re-enacters -- people who wear the clothes, live in the palaces and create the fairy tale for tourists and old ladies. They are a tribute band to days long ago.

  65. As a British expat with significant leftist tendencies and no particular royalist allegiance, I still respectfully ask certain fellow NYT readers to keep their hands off the neck of my country and I'll resist making too many jibes at theirs!

    Why Britons put up with their 'royal sideshow' is quite frankly beyond the point. They do, and that's their business.

  66. Good Day,
    I personally feel that HRH Queen Elizabeth told HRH Prince Charles that he wouldn't become King, when he dicided to marry Camilla and that would pass directly to William. After all, that happened with Diana and the aftermath of her death.

    My proof of this belief, is the fact that recently the Queen passed off certain of her duties to HRH Prince William and not to HRH Prince Charles.

    I also think that HRH Prince Charles is chaffing at that agreement and is testing the waters with his recent remark, that he wants "Camilla to be called Queen and not Princess when he assends to the throne". (In my opionion not when but IF he assends to the throne).

    At least at the time of Princess Diana death, I wouldn't have thought that HRH Prince Charles would be TOLERATED as King...I'm not so sure that that much has changed.

    After all crowds swarmed & damaged HRH Prince Charles' limo recently...something they would NEVER have done to the Queen....

    I still think HRH Prince Charles is not terrible beloved and you can see by the reaction to the general public about the wedding in the UK, that HRH Prince William is!

  67. Who says soap's are dead?

  68. The reason Americans love the fuss is that it's all just plain fun.

  69. I wonder what direction this story would have taken if William wanted to marry a guy and have Elton John sing at the wedding. Would the whole "Camilla v. Diana" thing become unimportant? All we really care about is judging people we know nothing about? Get a life.

  70. #47: If Charles were to drop dead tomorrow, the entire "King William; Queen Cutie-pie" issue would be completely moot. With Charles gone the heir to the throne would NOT be William, it would be Prince Andrew.

    Bill, you are incorrect. William is 2nd in line to the throne after Charles, and Henry/Harry is 3rd. If Charles were to die before his mother, William would immediately become the heir. If William has children, then move into the queue ahead of his brother, Harry. This information is readily available online -- no need to muddy the waters with blatant misinformation. Andrew (2nd son of Elizabeth II) becomes king only if Charles, William and Harry all die before Elizabeth II without any additional progeny.

  71. I don't understand the expectation that President Obama and Michele would be invited to a British royal wedding. Are the heads of state of other nations attending? (I mean those that are not royal relatives?)

    And as for those who think the monarchy should be dissolved, what would Britain offer the world without it? I guess we could all watch those tacky "Housewife" shows, but it's not the same without all the titles and eons of social privilege.

  72. TKmitten (#58), I did see the Charles-Diana wedding spectacle. What stood out for me at the time -- and what I have never seen a comment about, then or since -- is that she got his name wrong during her vows! Granted it is rather long and would likely not be familiar to her, but surely they rehearsed? I was swept up in the glamour otherwise and didn't notice anxious expressions -- maybe I'll go take another look now that you have mentioned that.

  73. Regardless of what happens to Charles and Camilla, I believe the Queen needs to make Kate a princess in her own right on her wedding day so she can officially be called Princess Catherine.

  74. I'm quite annoyed with all these Royal "haters" over here. Get over it people. The British Monarchy has been around for about 1,000 years. It's an institution and should remain so.

    British people already have better healthcare than us which goes to show that our system isn't so great either . . . without a monarchy.

    And for the record, a long-time adulterous mistress should NOT be allowed to become Queen. Tacky.

  75. Can't wait for the commemorative plates, plaques, postcards, etc. LOL. It's a boost for the British economy to let the "commoners" feel they have some part in all this. OBTW, they don't.........

  76. Charles had a disastrous marriage because he spent his youth as a self-centered playboy, doing this and that, so to speak, while all the marriageable girls his own age ended up married off.

    That's why he had to descend to cradle-robbing a poor naive 19 year old girl who hadn't even been to college and was totally unprepared for royal life in the first place.

    He made very selfish decisions that hurt other people and thwarted his own dreams and I could never respect him as King.

    But then, since I'm an American, who cares?

    However, my ancestors did come from Cornwall, so maybe I do have a right to some opinion here.

  77. The monarchy is just a ridiculous anachronism. I fear, however, that these descendants of despots and megalomaniacs are people who may still believe they are God appointed to rule. That the Brits still financially support this nonsense in this era makes you realize how powerful these clowns were in the 1700's and why our constitution has so many curious relics designed to prevent such a government from ever ruling this side of the Atlantic.

  78. To poster #47, I think his name is Edward, and thanks for the history lesson. And way too many snarky comments, if you don't like the idea of the Royals, why'd you bother reading the bloody article then commenting on it?

  79. Does anyone in England still believe that the King is ordained by God? That kind of thinking went out with the Age of Enlightenment if not the American Revolution. More over, why is it then there is this sycophancy with it here in "the colonies" still? Kind of like having your cake and eating it too. Rather though, methinks it unsustainable if not hypocritical. Kind of like our State Dinners and increasingly Alice in Wonderland approach. It is I must admit fascinating in a way, like a train wreck.

  80. Funny how the NY Times aggressively attacks succesful capitaists for being greedy, while turning a blind eye, and even propping the REAL criminals in todays society...the black nobility!

    These royal families live off of hundreds of years of stolen money, taken from the poor peasants over time.

    Shame on them, and double shame on the leftist media for placing them on pedistals for the masses to envy.

    (PS...the royal families around the globe could end world hunger AND guarantee everyone succesful healthcare and pensions, if they gave back the TRILLIONS which they've stolen.)

  81. I still haven't recovered from the last Royal Wedding.

  82. Camilla is the true Cinderella in this story, with the British press playing the role of the Evil Stepsisters.

    As anyone who suffered through the last Royal Wedding can tell you -- at least if they had their eyes open, and weren't blinded by all the hype -- Charles and Diana's "marriage" was a fraud from the start.

    Diana was chosen because she fit the bill, not because Charles was in love with her. (Whether she was in love with him, or merely impressed with his status as a prince, is a different question, one beyond the scope of this quick comment.) There were those at the time who called Diana a "breeding cow," and while that was both uncharitable and later disproved (if by nothing else than by Diana's work with AIDS patients), it's true that it did appear at the time that someone (probably including the Queen) had gone down the list of traits necessary for a suitable wife of a future king -- aristocratic, young, fertile, pretty, etc. -- and found that they could tick them all off quite nicely with Diana.

    The marriage was a sham from the start, and the Queen, the press, and much of the British (and worldwide) public has made Camilla the scapegoat. It's past time to face up to reality and give the poor woman a break.

    I love that Camilla couldn't care less about fashion, that she's got a sense of humor ("Rottweiler here" is worthy of Dorothy Parker), and that she stood by Charles all those years, living in the shadows while he and Diana pretended in public to be a couple.

  83. The line of succession from the British monarchy's official web site, is:
    1. The Prince of Wales (Pr. Charles)
    2. Prince William of Wales (Pr. William)
    3. Prince Henry of Wales (Pr. Harry)
    4. The Duke of York (Pr. Andrew)
    5. Princess Beatrice of York (Andrew's daughter)
    6. Princess Eugenie of York (ditto)
    7. The Earl of Wessex (Pr. Edward)
    8. Viscount Severn
    9. The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
    10. The Princess Royal (Pr. Anne)

  84. And then doth the watery tart of the lake did chuck ye great scimitar Excalibur and a governance be made. And that governance in thy name Chuck doth doodith all that be what a rich celebrity doth dooith...and it was silly.


  85. Camilla is far more appropriate to be the queen. Diana was perhaps more popular, but mostly she was immature and superficial, she did everything for show. Her position in the royal family went to her head and used it to embarrass them.

  86. I've lived most of my life in the States but now live in the UK. I just came back from London today. The streets are being decorated, people are happy and excited.
    With the recession, cuts, losses and general bad news that has been going on here the general public look to this wedding as a sign of something patriotic and joyous to celebrate.
    Let's raise a glass to Will and Kate! Long live the queen whomever she will be.

  87. It's a fun distraction from all of the bad news in the world.

  88. To ACW @ # 29, who wonders if Charles reigned as Philip, what number Philip he would be: Arguably Philip II; Philip of Spain called himself king of England while married to Mary Tudor, and I believe he appears as such on coins.

    To Heron @ # 53, who asks when it became OK for a commoner to become queen: At least as early as the 15th century, when Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville (technically a commoner in the sense of not being royal) instead of the royal French bride promoted by his supporters. That Queen Elizabeth is an ancestress of the present one through her daughter, who married Henry Tudor. See Shakespeare's Henry VI--Richard III tetralogy, passim.

    That the succession after Charles goes first to his sons and only then to his siblings has been fully discussed, but two examples: at the death of Frederick Prince of Wales, son of George II, his son (later George III) became heir presumptive, not his brothers. Same principle earlier at the death of Edward III, when with his son Edward the Black Prince dead, the crown passed to grandson Richard II.

  89. One point to make for the benefit of those who don't understand the history and tradition of the British Monarchy is that the Queen (or King) is the head of state not only of England but of 14 other countries around the world. Apparently those people are proud of their heritage and ties to a past that can, arguably, be said to have created the best parts of the world we live in today.

  90. I do not know where some of the above commentators ssudied their history but they are incorrect in their assumptions about the line of succession.
    If Charles were to die before the current monarch, the throne would NOT go to Andrew, the second son of Elizabeth and Philip - the title would go to William as he would be the next in line. For historical purposes, one can go back to 1836 when Victoria assumed the throne. Her father, Edward, Duke of Kent, died before her first birthday. He was fourth in line for the throne held by his father, George III. When George III died, the oldest son became George IV. His daughter, Charlotte (married to Leopold - who would later become King of the Belgians)died after giving birth to a stillborn son. George IV never had any other legitimate children. When he died, the throne passed to his brother who became William IV. William and his wife Adelaide had two daughters, both of whom died as young babies, they had no other children. A third brother who was unmarried (whose name I cannot recall) died during the reign of George IV. Thus, when William IV died, Edward would have assumed the throne had he been living. He of course was long in the grave BUT he had a daughter, Victoria, and so because he had a child, that child (a girl who only recently had turned 18) became the monarch. Thus, to return to the present day, if Charles would die before his mother, upon Elizabeth's death William would be king. Otherwise, when Eziabeth dies, Charles becomes king and upon his death, William would assume the throne.
    An earlier commentator asserted that if Charles were to abdicate, no member of his immediate family could assume the throne and thus the throne would pass to Viscount Linley (the oldest son of the late Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden). Again, that is wrong. And again, one can look to history for the correct answer. When Edward VIII abdicated in order to "marry the woman tht he loved" - Wallis Warfield Simpson, the throne passed to Edward's brother as he was next in line to the throne. That brother was Bertie who became George VI. If Edward had hadany legitimate offspring (which he did not as he had not married prior to that point in time) then the oldest child (or the oldest male child) would have been crowned king.
    Those who harbor a belief that Charles will willingly step aside so that his son can succeed Elizabeth have not a clue about Charles. He is a man, who whether one likes him or not, has been in training all his life for one position - not a position he asked for but one that was placed upon him at birth. Charles has a long respect for traditon and history. He will, if he outlives his mother, assume the throne and carry out whatever duties the position entails. William will have less a wait than his father - just as George V had a short weight (nine years) until he succeeded his father, Edward VII.
    It doesn't really matter what Americans think - our faounding fathers made the decision long ago to forego a monarchy. If other countries want that such a system, so be it.

  91. to [email protected] #3,4, there is a place called "museum" that preserves whatever you see in the royals.

    to people who chant british royals for the sake of tourism, please research some statistics comparing cities/countries with/without royals. Is London really so shabby that it needs royals to attract people's attention?

    to people who are genuinely in love with titles such as "queen", "princess", "king" .etc, why do you voluntarily bow your heads to another human being who is worth nothing without the title? Go get some self-esteem.

    to NYTimes, this article is pushing my limit to regard the paper as some type of intellectual read. If I see more reports on the nonsense of "royals", you are fired.

  92. Normally, #52 what you say is true: "No one can 'break up a marriage' except for the two people who are married to each other.". Not in this case, tho.

    Long before Diana's marriage, Camilla was in the background pulling Charles's strings and controlling things. Diana never had a chance. Like she said, there were three people in that marriage from the start, not two. Yes, Charles is culpable but so is Camilla. She was much older. She knew what was happening. Diana was young and didn't know.

    Camilla is too unscrupulous to be anybody's queen.

  93. I'll be watching the royal wedding next week - looking forward to it as a matter of fact. Where would England be without the royals - Mr. Burns' article was very good - and funny!

  94. I guess this means I'm not getting invited. I hard it to believe they could invite 1,700 people and forget me. I did see the Kings Speech and was witness to the childhood of Elizabeth II.

  95. i do not know whether it was stated earlier, but Prince William is actually a commoner. He is neither the sovereign, nor a peer.

  96. The article, and most people, seem to assume that Camilla WANTS to be queen. I can imagine that her life is remarkably nice just as it is; she gets to live well as part of one of the richest families in the world yet can maintain a great deal of privacy. Why in the world would she want to give all that up to take a demanding position where she will be in the public eye constantly, especially since the public and press alike have shown themselves to be highly critical of her appearance and behavior?

  97. New Yorkers just don't get the fact that this 30 million spend on this rediculaous zoo, er I mean wedding could easily feed many, many starving people around the world. I guess they can turn a blind eye to all that, just as long as they get to openly use the word 'queen' in their postings for the next few weeks

  98. And Camilla answering the phone "Rottweiler" calls to mind the image of a hound, its jaws dripping with the blood of its fallen prey. If she had any decency, she wouldn't still mock Diana, even indirectly. She's dead. Isn't that enough?

  99. Until we have a Republic in the UK, we will continue as a nation to be infantilized by this preposterous anachronism...the British monarchy.
    It is far from harmless as it institutes and maintains a demeaning hierarchy based on accidents of birth with no relationship to intelligence, talents or abilities. This feeds into the education system where background and money still assure the children of the upper classes places in the best universities through their schooling in expensive privileged schools, regardless of merit. From there it's a hop, skip and a jolly jump to the top jobs in politics, law, the city and the church.
    Their favourite women are those who make no waves and smile happily thanks to their medication, a "stiff gin & tonic".
    I wish it were all harmless fun but it really isn't.......

  100. I think Camilla is alright. There is nothing improper about the way she dresses. She is a 64 year old woman, not a teenager. She takes a lot of hammering from the press without complaint. I think she is okay.

  101. Diana was truly the People's Princess. The humanitarian work that she did is to be applauded. She never lost the common touch. Whether holding brown babies in Africa or touching people dying of AIDS (when the rest of us were paranoid to do so). She had gay friends when it wasn't fashionable to do so. William is his mother's child. Period. Camilla is a homewrecker who doesn't deserve to be queen. I hope Kate can somewhat live up to standard set by Diana but know that there will never, ever be another Diana.

  102. Since not all who reign by the crown have the blessing of a divine ordination, what so readily has roused the burning tempers of your reporter in light of the upcoming ceremony, might be the issue of monarchical legitimacy in the Commonwealth and beyond. No matter where or when, history has shown us the scholastic side of damnation recurring without such approbation. Such is the order of things. It has always been thus, it will be thus forever.

    IN a constitutional monarchy, whilst the Sovereign Queen owes her People her Trust, the second wife of a King-to-be, or the sole to-be-wife of a Prince, Camille or Katharine, as Queen or as Princess and regardless of whatever title borne formally or in the annals of heavens, are merely wives to the throne.

  103. As an American who has never spent any time in England, I cannot pretend to know why the British public continues to harbor such negative feelings toward Camilla 10 years or so after Diana's death and her marriage to Charles. But like the rest of the world, I read of and watched a lovely, innocent girl enter a fairytale marriage to a dazzling prince, only to have her dream of a happy family turn into a nightmare, co-authored by Charles and his long-time mistress, Camilla. I recall reading of a confrontation between Diana and Camilla in which Diana demanded that Camilla leave her husband alone.
    Later on, I read of and watched as that lonely, heart-broken young wife and mother turned to the public, the press, and eventually to other men for the love, support and validation denied to her by the prince she had married. Not surprisingly, there was much speculation in the press as to the exact nature of Camilla's relationship with her own husband, the father of her two children, throughout the time she was cavorting with Diana's husband. As with any closely followed scandal, private lives were spread open and the world learned more than it needed to know about all parties involved. Curiously, what I recall as most revealing of Camilla's character, was an article about some social gathering at which Camilla was quoted as dismissively referring to Diana as "That ridiculous woman".

    It was that insulting public remark about the woman she was helping to betray and whose happiness and life she was actively engaged in destroying, that I found so utterly tasteless and unforgivable. Who was this creature to treat Diana so callously, and then have the arrogance to belittle her to others as "That ridiculous woman"? Now that tragic girl is dead and this improbable, duplicitous woman may someday become Queen. She has lasted through years of scandal and public hatred, but apparently she hasn't changed. In an attempt at self-deprecating humor, she us reported to use Diana's anguished name for her, "The Rottweiler", when answering the phone at her country home. So arrogant still. It is tasteless to make a joke out of the suffering she helped to inflict on Diana. Camilla comes to her current station in life through her back street liaison with the heir to the throne, and her participation in the destruction of the Diana's marriage and ultimately, her life. Camilla may eventually become queen, but apparently nothing can improve the person she is. As an American, I think Great Brittan and its people deserve better.

  104. Yes,she showed her "common roots ",by saying "we"ll see",to the little girl asking if she will be queen.No comment would have been in better taste.Whatever........she disrespected Diana long ago by going out with Charles after the marriage,it would be funny if he is messing around on her right now,its what the "Rottwielar" deserves.What comes around goes around with a vagabond womanizing man.

  105. The number of snarky and even ignorant comments in this chain is depressing. Clearly many readers have no understanding of the role and value of ancient tradition in national identity and self respect. Yes, many Americans do care about the British royals very much - for a wide variety of reasons ranging from a "fandom" similar to that of soap opera fans to much more serious reasons of history and, in the case of persons of Anglo descent, even reasons of past family loyalty and associations. These are not nugatory or illegitimate reasons. Some comments have made much of the cost of the royal establishment. That is a silly criticism. The palaces would have to be kept up anyway and the whole royal show is a hugely profitable tourist attraction. Right now, you can't book a hotel room in London for the period of the wedding for love nor money. Further, just how much do you think it costs to maintain the American presidential establishment? The Queen is a bargain by comparison. As for the charge of "classism" oh stop being so envious! No society on Earth has ever been without social classes or ever will be. At least the British are more honest about it. Also, if one wants to rise in class category, work hard, be of benefit to society, be creative, be charitable and maybe you'll be made a life peer - or you can just go down to the local pub, have a couple of pints and complain about the "toffs." Envy is a green dragon and will eat you up.

  106. The monarchy is a rather silly old relic – obsolete, irrelevant, and a bit inane to be sure, but amusing nonetheless. Expensive? Yes, but perhaps worth the investment. It would be interesting to see a serious economic analysis to see if those sad people trapped in the worlds most gilded goldfish bowl do in fact draw enough tourism and stimulate the economy to earn their keep.

    Without any particular reverence or admiration for royalty in general I daresay that Elizabeth II has done an admirable job of maintaining dignity. She has held together tradition and currency through the dramatic changes that have turned an Imperial center inhabited by pasty-faced, ill-fed provincials into a more democratic, bustling, multi-ethnic economic powerhouse. Charles has even come to impress more open-minded listeners with very sensible statements about culture, food, and architecture. One doesn’t know if we should be sorry or relieved that he is banned from speaking on more substantial topics. And for that matter what of the “unfashionable views” held by his wife? As she is barred from political activity and speech those are strictly her own business, but no… unfortunately for that clan, nothing at all in their own lives is strictly their own business. You’ve whetted our curiosity to the one thing that really matters.

    Diana is an impossibly tough act to follow and Camilla has done as well as anyone can reasonably demand. For so many reasons, mostly not her own fault, she does draw ridicule. Any resentment or actual dislike for the old rotweiler is a waste of energy, but the royals are automatic targets for satire and spoof; too easy, really. Trapped by obsolete laws and traditions, they have so much privilege while being banned from speaking or acting on matters of substance, so much wealth and so little privacy. Simple flaws of normal humanity that would be shrugged off in any other family get exaggerated to cartoonish absurdity. But it is exactly because we all share in that humanity that the world’s grandest family in their simplest human slips become such caricatures of buffoonery. I often think of what little Margaret Rose said nearly eighty years ago to her not-yet-so-big sister Elizabeth: “Poor you. You have to be queen.”

    (And Mr. McCune is quite mistaken. The line of succession is very clear. Charles’ sons are ahead of all their uncles, aunt, and cousins. Had the Queen and the Prince of Wales died while William was still a minor he would still become king, perhaps with his uncle Prince Andrew as regent, but while those two boys or any of their legitimate progeny are alive and competent Andrew could never become king. Lucky him!)

  107. "Seems to me, she lived her life like a candle in the wind"..........I think whatever the royals work out among themselves is just peachy. I am really grateful that Wills and Harry like the Rottweiler: I'm even beginning to like her myself. Diana was in a class by herself as far as her willingness to connect with real people, and her boys have somehow absorbed that, despite Harry's pranks. The idea of the monarchy, and all the "consumption" around it is admittedly offensive, as the brits who attacked Chuck and Cornwall in their limo seemed to feel. That said, I admire the queen and the queen mum and agree that they are social role models and admirable characters. If they were truly unpopular, the monarchy would not have survived the 20th century. Oh, and I thinki it is right that Barry and Michele stay home: they would be criticized for incurring the expense of traveling to what is clearly a purely social event, and what possible legitimate connection could they have to Wills and Kate to be at their wedding? I also admire W and K for keeping it low key: it will have the pomp and fanfare, but 1600 is a much better number than 3500.

  108. it is important for Camilla to be together with Charles. To be the queen or not to be the queen, that's not the question.

  109. There are many reasons for Americans to view the royal family, and royal process, as ridiculous. But none are more compelling than the truly vile contempt with which the press has treated Camilla Parker-Bowles. It's bad enough when the American press digs into a first lady or other powerful woman, but the vitriol heaped on Camilla is really and truly vile. It makes me sick to my stomach.