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Everyone needs an Aunty Camilla with her own mind

PUBLISHED: 11:31 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:27 16 October 2018

File photo dated 22/05/18 of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall with the Duchess of Sussex (right). Baby Sussex will be the Prince of Wales's fourth grandchild. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday October 15, 2018. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting a baby in spring 2019, Kensington Palace has announced. See PA story ROYAL Baby Numbers. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

File photo dated 22/05/18 of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall with the Duchess of Sussex (right). Baby Sussex will be the Prince of Wales's fourth grandchild. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday October 15, 2018. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting a baby in spring 2019, Kensington Palace has announced. See PA story ROYAL Baby Numbers. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

James Marston speculates about Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and her absence from the Royal Wedding. What does it tell us about her position at the Palace now?

Did you watch the Royal wedding? Now there’s another baby on the 
way. Will it be a prince? Or princess? I can’t work out 
the rules.

It’s all go in the House of Windsor, isn’t it? And now we can rest assured there are plenty of them dotted across smart parts of London and the Cotswolds to ensure we keep having a head of state, at least for the time being.

I have to say I’m rather 
pleased for Prince Harry as 
well – I like him.

I also like Camilla, whose duty-first attitude by keeping an appointment at a school in Scotland over the wedding celebrations of Princess Eugenie has won my admiration.

But I can’t help speculating the obvious assumption – what if there was more to it?

Could it be that Camilla isn’t much struck on some of her husband’s relations? It wouldn’t be an impossible leap of imagination to think she might prefer to hotfoot it off to Scotland and leave well alone.

And if that is the case we can all relate to the awkward relation, can’t we? The one who won’t quite play by the rules, the one who doesn’t care what they say, the one who requires some eggshell treading.

In that respect we’ve all got the equivalent of an Aunty Camilla lurking in the background ready to cause offence/disquiet/ructions/ at a moment’s notice.

If Camilla is that Aunty Camilla then she has shown not only something of her own integrity but also how much power she has within the
 royal fold.

I can’t imagine Camilla would defy the Queen, nor can I imagine the Queen would put herself in the position of being said no to, but if Camilla was staying away because of more personal reasons than duty, then it shows what power she has and what a force she is becoming to be reckoned with.

It is a reminder that she will be Queen – whether in name or not – and in an unassailable position once her husband gets the top job.

Camilla will rule the roost, is she just letting everyone know?

I rather admire this show of power and the character it 
shows behind it.

Even if she said no to the royal wedding for the sake of her duty, this shows she gets what being royal is all about – self-sacrifice, turning up on time, being seen, forsaking quite a bit of privacy, saying not much, complaining never, paying attention to the big and the little things of our communal life.

It’s not rocket science – it’s just difficult to do your duty and sometimes, perhaps these days, the self too often wins.

Self-sacrifice and duty towards others isn’t a very modern or fashionable character trait – instead our default position seems to be that the individual takes priority – what about me? What about my needs?

This focus on the individual is somewhat authenticated by the personal over-sharing that people go in for on social media which feeds the narcissist in us all and often reinforces the importance of the individual.

Yet ironically – social media – or boastalot as I call it - is, as regular readers might know, one of my own individual bugbears. And who am I to talk anyway? I have a weekly outlet for some of my thoughts in my very own newspaper column, though that’s also my job.

So, let’s get back to Camilla.

I think she’s doing great, she’s doing her job as we expect her to do – and that’s the point.

Whether she is a tricky relative or not, she’s doing 
what we demand of her – putting duty first, whether it is occasionally convenient for her to do so or not.

What do you think? Is Camilla as great as James thinks? Did you watch the recent royal wedding or were you doing something else? Is doing one’s duty unfashionable? Write to James at james.marston@archant.co.uk

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