Prince Harry recently celebrated his 21st birthday, and in right royal tradition, he marked it by giving an interview and releasing photos; shot by non other than photographer extraordinaire Mario Testino. The Queen, when she was Princess Elizabeth, celebrated her 21st birthday in South Africa. While there, she made a broadcast, her historic act of dedication. So far she's lived up to her words and hasn't disappointed us yet.
I'm not trying to minimize Prince Harry's big event by comparing it to his grandmother because there is no comparison. His grandmother was heiress presumptive to the throne, Harry is only the spare. You know, the one you hope you'll never have to use but take comfort it's there if you need it. Remember how difficult it was to change it last time, why would we want to go through the whole hassle all over again?
Prince Harry, in contrast, chose to set the record straight about his feelings for Camilla. Did we really expect any dedication from him? Unlike his grandmother, whose words still resonate 60 years on, Harry's 21st birthday interview will be remembered for his comments on Camilla. Of course he said other things: continuing his mother's work with AIDS, his relationship with his brother, how wonderful his girlfriend is, his military career, the Nazi incident; he covered a lot of territory. But back to Camilla.
I think a lot of us are happy that he addressed the Camilla issue. Someone on the inside track gave us some clarification and finally brought us some closure. However, for some people it raised more questions - was he coached? did he really mean what he said? Why should we trust the judgement of someone who in the past has clearly demonstrated a lack of it?
If he didn't mean it, we can then discuss his motivations behind making these statements. Scheming Harry, trying to draw attention away from the other things he's done. Does he really love her to bits? What does 'loving to bits' actually mean? Maybe we could discuss why we're still discussing this.
If he did mean it, then what are we going to talk about? What an upstanding young man he is to compliment his step-mother, stand behind her? No, that's not very interesting. What now? we'll have nothing! Prince Charles is happy, Camilla is striking the right fashion notes, Prince William is on the right track with his girlfriend. It was so much easier when Camilla was the "wicked step-mother". How could Harry do this to us?
Either way, can we all get on with our lives? After all, there are much more important things to talk about: Kate Moss, David and Victoria Beckham, Britney Spears' new baby, the Crown Princess of the Netherlands choice of hats. So, we're not at a complete loss.
The choice is ours to discuss.
© Marilyn Braun 2005
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