The king-to-be's 'other woman' leaves him pant-ing


December 14, 1992|By MIKE LITTWIN

If I'm going to be honest here, the last royalty I really cared anything about was the Duke of Earl. But I know that millions of otherwise perfectly intelligent Americans are irresistibly drawn to the storybook lives of a bunch of inbred polo players who, it must be admitted, do have their good points, including perfect posture and terrific jewelry.

Thus we turn to the heartwarming story of Prince Charles (officially: Charles, Prince of Wales, etc., etc.) and his bride, Princess Di (officially: Her Royal Babeness) and how, against all odds, they were not on the cover of every major American magazine last week, having missed Field and Stream.

Chuck and Di are Splitsville, as you must know. It's the biggest celebrity breakup since at least Ike and Tina "We Don't Do Nothin' Nice and Easy" Turner.

Ike, they sent to prison. Charles is exiled to his country home in Gloucestershire, where, it is believed, he holds involved conversations with his plants, usually, one supposes, about the failings of modern architecture and/or Miracle-Gro. And you wonder why Di dumped him?

Di got the better deal. She got the in-town and still-standing palace, upgraded fire insurance, a crown, the princelings and a pledge that she doesn't have to see her in-laws except on the holidays.

Life used to be much simpler in royaldom. The king had a problem with the little woman, he chopped off her head. Nothing they could do about it, either. He had diplomatic immunity-plus, meaning he couldn't get a parking ticket if the meter ran out on the Royal Coach and you couldn't touch him if he took an ax to the odd head. Oh, sure, there were some drawbacks to those days. No cable, for instance. But, all in all, it was good to be the king.

It's different today. But the important thing to remember is that this is a separation and not a divorce. If it were a divorce, that would cause a constitutional crisis, if, in fact, Britain had a constitution, which it does not. It has something called common law, which is unwritten, but if it were written would say that the Heir Apparent Can't Divorce The Princess If Their Wedding Was On TV.

So, it's a separation, meaning the monarchy will endure and there'll always be an England on your tourist itinerary. There will be no divorce so that Di, who is glamorous and actually liked, can still be recognized someday as queen. This would happen if and when Queen Elizabeth II (officially: Her Royal Frumpness) either abdicates or, to put it as delicately as possible, croaks. It's possible. She's agreed to pay taxes. Anything is possible.

There's no point in having Charles as king without Diana as queen. Face it, Di plays Lewis to Charles' Martin. She's the act. She's the entire franchise. Without her, it's dinner-theatre Shakespeare all the way, and you know what the food is like over there. If you want your anachronism and fairy tale, you've got to have the fairy princess, and she's it. Also, and this can't be stressed too greatly, sans Diana, People would be stuck with just Liz and Oprah for cover material.

What happened to these two wonderful kids? The story is that their marriage was based on an old Freda Payne song (Last night/on our honeymoon/we slept/in separate rooms). Charles was remote and cold to Diana, who apparently preferred a husband whose personality could be measured in terms other than vital signs. Di is, of course, the perfect monarch, being the world's most photogenic person. Charles married her after a long search for what is known in the royalty biz as the BLVA (Best Looking Virgin Available), and then he snubs her.

But apparently, Charles loves another. Her name is Camilla Parker-Bowles (officially: Not His Wife). And being British, he is smitten with this woman in a most peculiar way. He told her, according to what I read in Time, that he would like to return to this Earth in his next life as Parker-Bowles' trousers. I am not making this up. What Charles wants more than anything in the world is to be an inert piece of clothing. (By the way, he once told Di he wanted to come back as her toaster oven. See, just not romantic.)

So, Charles had Camilla, and poor, rejected Di, who, when she wasn't considering suicide was fashionably bulimic, was involved with somebody who was either called Squidgy or who called her Squidgy, I'm not sure which. Queen Squidgy? It doesn't seem right.

But then, come on. Really. I mean, who cares? Don't we have more important issues to deal with here in the U.S.A.? Say Tatum and Johnny Mac's breakup. There's a story. Talk about your annus horriblis.

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