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The decision to give Camilla Parker Bowles’ grandchildren official roles in the coronation represents a “victory lap” for her and Charles, a friend of hers has told The Daily Beast. The move will cement her family in a powerful and influential position at the heart of the British establishment.
However the news that her five grandchildren are to be given a starring role at the coronation, holding a golden canopy over Her Majesty during literally the most sacred part of the ceremony—the anointing of the royal personage with holy oil—came as a surprise to Prince William, who does not have a close relationship with Camilla’s children, journalist Tom Parker Bowles and gallerist Laura Lopes, a friend of his said.
Prince Harry is not believed to have been consulted about any aspects of the coronation given his estrangement from his family. In an interview to publication of his memoir Spare, Harry said Camilla was “dangerous” and had left “bodies in the street” as she made her royal ascent.
The offices of Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, and Harry and Meghan all declined to respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast. Friends of the family were more forthcoming, however.
“Camilla never asked for any of this,” one friend of hers told The Daily Beast, “But Charles always wanted her to be queen. Lots of people doubted he could pull it off but he has, and including her family in the coronation is something of a victory lap for both of them.”
The idea that the queen’s five grandchildren would have a prominent and official role at the coronation would have been laughed out of court two years ago, simply because none of them have royal ancestry or are expected to perform public service in their adult life, and a coronation is a state event, not a family one. To include them, therefore, is tantamount to announcing them as members of the inner circle; it will elevate them to an entirely new public and social status as Official Royal Grandkids.
The corresponding exclusion of the Sussex kids will also, of course, send the opposite message to the Sussex grandchildren, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, who will be passing the Parker Bowles clan on the down escalator.
Of course, given that they will only be 4 and 1 respectively on the day of the coronation, no-one would imagine that both Archie and Lilibet would ever have been seated inside Westminster Abbey on May 6.
But nor is there any notion that the king will invite the Sussex children to participate in the wider celebrations, or appear in a photocall with them, for example.
He may have had little choice but to accept Sussex demands that their children got their princely titles, but he will very much not be conferring the magic of regal favor on them.
Unlike the Parker Bowles grandkids, that is.
Food critic Tom Parker Bowles, who was caught admitting to using cocaine in a 1999 newspaper sting, has two children from his ex-wife, fashion editor Sarah Buys—Lola, 15, and Freddy, 13— while Camilla’s daughter, now known by her married name of Laura Lopes, a former society journalist who now runs an art gallery, has three kids with husband George Lopes: Eliza, 15, and twins Louis and Gus, 13.
As of May 7, this new famous five will be among the most eligible teenagers in the land. Socially ambitious parents will be well aware that a friendship with them will guarantee their children a VIP pass into the privileged center of British society.
It is a leg-up like no other and an extraordinary decision by Camilla and Charles, given that it was only in February last year that the palace finally gave up the line that Camilla would never be queen.
Their inclusion is testament to the huge power and authority that Camilla has consolidated since the announcement by the late Queen Elizabeth that she wished Camilla to be known as Queen Consort when Charles ascended the throne. The palace is expected to shortly drop the “Consort” bit soon, making Charles’ long cherished dream of King Charles and Queen Camilla a reality.
Asked by Anderson Cooper of CNN how Camilla was dangerous, Harry replied, “Because of the need for her to rehabilitate her image,” which made her dangerous “because of the connections that she was forging within the British press. And there was open willingness on both sides to trade of information. And with a family built on hierarchy, and with her, on the way to being Queen Consort, there was gonna be people or bodies left in the street because of that…
“If you are led to believe, as a member of the family, that being on the front page, having positive headlines, positive stories written about you, is going to improve your reputation or increase the chances of you being accepted as monarch by the British public, then that’s what you’re gonna do.”
The pledge that Camilla would only ever be known as Princess Consort was made on Charles’ behalf to assuage public anger over Charles marrying the woman who Diana blamed for making their marriage impossible.
It was never intended to be honored. It was a straightforward, cynical deception aimed at buying time while a team of spinners worked on the long game: improving Camilla’s image and acceptability to the British public.
The job is now done, and not only is Camilla queen, but her grandchildren are being publicly recognized as royals in all but name.
It is an astounding consolidation of power and influence by Camilla especially as it would have been reasonable to assume that creating new step-grandchildren-in-waiting is the very reverse of the much-vaunted “slimmed-down monarchy” that Charles has long claimed to want.
It could also backfire in a predictable way if, for example any of those grandchildren subsequently are accused of cashing in on their royal status with freebies or sinecure jobs (which they will now be offered by the truckload) or get up to any youthful high jinx which make their way onto social or mainstream media.
The move by Charles to include Camilla’s grandchildren in May’s ceremony—Palace spinners have been briefing that it shows Charles is a champion of the “blended family” and that Charles would read the kids Harry Potter when he was younger and put on silly voices to do so—has surprised friends of William and Kate.
One friend of William and Harry’s told The Daily Beast: “It was unexpected. If you’re meeting William and Kate for the first time, it’s best not to say you’re a friend of Tom or Laura’s. It’s not that they actively dislike them, it’s just that they don’t really know them and are not close to them. Also, all their friends are journalists or in the media in some way because of their lives as writers and critics. It’s a slightly louche scene and it makes [William and Kate] nervous.”
A friend of Tom’s said, “He didn’t exactly meet the boys [Harry and William] under the best conditions and they were never mates.”
Asked if they were surprised Tom wanted his children to have a pivotal role in the ceremony, the friend said, “Tom is very savvy, and I think he would see it as an amazing opportunity for them. But ultimately he would have left it up to them. I assume they have said they want to do it.”
The royal author Christopher Andersen, who has authored a series of books on Camilla including Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate and the Throne told The Daily Beast: “It seems like an obvious slap in the face to Harry and William—both of them, we now know for certain, begged Charles not to marry Camilla. There is this gnawing sense that, were it not for Camilla, Diana is the one we would see being crowned queen on May 6. The message it sends is, ‘We really don’t need you and your family, Harry. Camilla’s will fill in the void just fine.’
“As for the whole ‘Aren’t we a modern blended family?’ bit, it seems to me that that is little more than a kind of disingenuous New Age cover for Camilla getting her way—yet again.”