MAYBE President Clinton, who sometimes seems to want to...

Salmagundi

February 22, 1993

MAYBE President Clinton, who sometimes seems to want to hug everyone in sight, should offer a lesson to Prince Charles. As if the prince didn't have enough trouble on his plate with the "Camilla-gate" tape and the fact that he seems continually overshadowed by his estranged wife, the popular Princess of Wales has even suggested in public that Prince Charles is an inadequate hugger.

Around the time their separation was announced, Diana made a speech to a drug rehabilitation group in which she suggested that if children were given more hugs, they would be less susceptible to drugs. "There are potential huggers in every household," she said. Her remarks were widely interpreted as a strong hint that her husband is somewhat lacking in the hugging department. Diana herself is frequently spotted cuddling and hugging their two young sons.

But, of course, hugging is considered unroyal -- at least by traditional standards. Who could forget Queen Elizabeth II's stiff reaction when, during a visit to a home in a Washington D.C. neighborhood, she was greeted with a big, grandmotherly hug from her hostess? And who could forget Barbara Bush, then the First Lady, instinctively salvaging the situation by responding with her own hug for the hostess?

Given all the problems facing the royals these days, maybe protocol should be revised. Why not an entirely new chapter designed to bring the royal family into the 1990s? They could call it, "Hugs for all Seasons."

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