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Coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla leaves us imagining what could have been with Diana


As a very small child, I watched Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding; her Spencer tiara sparkling, that famous shy smile lighting up the TV, the way even her wrinkled gown couldn’t ruin the fairytale day back in July 1981.

As the rain poured down on the new King and his Queen, Camilla, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace Saturday — Diana’s vengeance, perhaps — I could not help but think about the late Princess of Wales, as I’m sure millions of others did too.

But for a cruel twist of fate, it would have been Queen Diana up on that balcony, Queen Mary’s crown glittering upon her head.

She would have been head over heels in love with the three gorgeous grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, who played such a big role in their grandpa’s coronation.

Instead, the thousands of Brits congregating outside the palace and thronging the Mall in London were cheering for Charles and his second wife, Camilla — the woman with whom he cheated on Diana, and once dubbed the most hated woman in Britain.

Yes, Charles finally got what he had always dreamed of when the royal website was updated early Saturday morning to call Camilla “Queen,” and dropping “consort” from her title.


Then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana at their wedding on July 29, 1981.
Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Inside Westminster Abbey, the choir sang “Vivat Regina Camilla” — Long live Queen Camilla — as she grinned and made sure her hair was just perfect underneath her crown.

Everyone knows what happened.

Charles and Diana’s union was an utter disaster — both sides mired in cheating — which ended in divorce in 1996, followed by Diana’s tragic death at 36 in 1997.

For decades, Brits and Diana fans around the world could not forgive Charles and Camilla.


Prince Charles with Camilla Parker-Bowles in 1979. He would divorce Princess Diana in 1996.
Prince Charles with Camilla Parker-Bowles in 1979. He would divorce Princess Diana in 1996.
Photo by TIM GRAHAM/Getty Images

Camilla and Diana walking together in 1980.
Camilla and Diana walking together in 1980.
Getty Images

As I wrote last week in The Post, it took a masterful PR plan by Charles’ former right-hand man, Mark Bolland, to get the public to embrace them as a couple, starting with the coup of getting them photographed together for the first time as a couple at London’s Ritz hotel back in 1999.

Now, they have been rebranded as twinkly-eyed grandparents in their 70s.

However, as I also wrote, there are some inside the palace who were left upset over the late, beloved Queen Elizabeth being “strong-armed” into giving her support for Camilla to be named Queen Consort, on the eve of the anniversary of her accession to the throne in February 2022.


Camilla getting crowned by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Westminster Abbey.
Camilla getting crowned by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Westminster Abbey.
Photo by Richard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty Images

A new Sky News/Ipsos poll released this week showed there is still some way to go for Charles and Camilla to win their popularity contest.

Although as recently as 2018, Charles was one of the least popular members of the royal family, he is now at No. 4 on the list, behind his son, Prince William, his sister Princess Anne and his daughter-in-law, Princess Kate.

Camilla is listed at No. 7.


Camilla wearing the Queen Mary's Crown at the coronation ceremony.
Camilla wearing the Queen Mary’s Crown at the coronation ceremony.
Photo by RICHARD POHLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Asked if she believed she would ever be Queen, Diana said in her infamous 1995 interview with Martin Bashir: “No, I don’t, no.

“I’d like to be a queen of people’s hearts, in people’s hearts. But I don’t see myself as being queen of this country. … I don’t think many people would want me to be queen. Actually, when I say many people, I mean this establishment that I am married into.”

Her friend and former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown added last year: “Diana would have loathed the idea of Queen Camilla, there’s no question about it.”

Despite the very obvious fact that Charles and Camilla are way more suited to each other than Charles and Diana ever were, the coronation still, for me, was like watching “Sliding Doors,” and wishing that in another universe, we had a Queen Diana.



This story originally appeared on NYPost

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