Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith uncovers unknown revelations about the future King in her latest tome, Prince Charles.
In an authoritative and deeply researched account of the life of the man who is next in line to the English throne, royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith uncovers six unknown revelations about the future King in her latest tome, Prince Charles.
He was rejected by his distant cousin
Amidst his heartbreak over watching his beloved Camilla Shand marry Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973, Charles sought solace in the suggestion of his great-uncle Lord Dickie Mountbatten that he refocus his sights on Mountbatten’s granddaughter, the 15-year-old Amanda Knatchbull. Charles was indeed impressed by how beautiful she’d become, and wrote to Dickie that he deemed Amanda “incredibly affectionate and loyal…with a glorious sense of fun and humour—and she’s a country girl as well which is even more important,” making it an “ideal” union the more he considered it. He eventually asked for Amanda’s hand, roughly two years before he married Diana, and her rejection was, in the words of historian Jonathan Dimbleby, “gentle and immediate.”
As a young adult, Charles encountered South African guru Laurens van der Post, an Afrikaner author and political adviser, who came to occupy a highly influential position in the prince’s personal development for years to come. From helping Charles make sense of his lifelong introversion and the rarified circumstances in which he’d come of age, to initiating Charles’s immersion into psychotherapy and dream interpretation, van der Post’s insistence upon the noble and pure values of ancient African tribesmen—values, like environmental preservation and asceticism, that have been corrupted by modern society—continued to hold power over the prince’s idealistic preference for primitivism over 20th-century moral depravity for decades to come.
Ill-advised marriage proposal
Charles’s marriage to Diana in 1981 was fraught from the start, and the impetuous proposal was in many ways inseparable from Charles’s tense relationship with his father, Prince Philip. That paternal strain has been well-documented, but Smith reveals new details about a letter Philip wrote to his son in lieu of a face-to-face conversation regarding his son’s intentions to marry a woman whom many in the royal circle cautioned against. The letter, in Smith’s summary, stated plainly that “Charles should either propose to [Diana] or release her. In either event, he should make a decision shortly.” Used as he was to his father’s pressure and to succumbing to it without carefully considering his own feelings, Charles rushed into a union that was doomed from its very beginnings.
While on their honeymoon in Balmoral, Scotland in 1981, Diana’s resentment of Charles’s solitary habits—he was intransigent about devoting hours each day alone, reading or painting instead of spending time with his new bride—and her jealousy of Camilla (she discovered photos of her husband’s lover in his diary and cufflinks with intertwined C’s)gained more and more momentum until finally she descended into one of her well-known doldrums. Besides her alarming weight-loss due to depression-induced anorexia, Diana also began to exhibit violent outbursts of anger, Smith reporting that when the prince would kneel for his nightly prayers Diana “would hit him over the head and keep on with the row while he was praying.”
The palace’s efforts to improve Camilla’s standing in the eyes of the nation (even the mention of her name often provoked hearty boos amongst crowds well into the ’90s), to prepare for her impending marriage to the future king, was spearheaded by the prince’s adviser and media mastermind Mark Bolland, and known as “Operation PB.” The campaign included a New Yorker profile by noted British journalist Allison Pearson and a documentary, as well as a strategically flattering photo of Camilla published by the National Osteoporosis Society lauding her as its generous patron. The decades-long lovers finally exchanged vows in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall on April 9, 2005.
Court chaos behind the scenes
To this day, Prince Charles conducts his household and office with a level of frenzy unusual for Buckingham Palace, and the Queen has often attempted to temper the drama with little success. His household plagued with internal backstabbing and suspicion amongst staff, the prince makes it even more arduous for his employees to conduct their business by eschewing modern technology for an onslaught of haphazard, handwritten memos, and has no qualms about calling on his attendants at any hour of the day.
Affinity for “Queen Nancy”
Upon receiving a gracious welcome by President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, upon visiting America in the spring of 1981—the dinner was attended by an illustrious guest list of American notables from William F. Buckley, Jr., Diana Vreeland, and Audrey Hepburn, to Bobby Short, the Annenberg’s, and Cary Grant—Charles declared his devotion not just to the United States, but its First Lady: “I have fallen in love with Mrs. Reagan!”
Via Harper’s Bazaar
Source: redonline co uk
Tags: Prince Charles, Charles, Operation PB, Marriage, Wedding