Charles and Camilla recently toured a Sikh temple where they watched a traditional martial arts sword demonstration. During part of this display, Camilla covered her eyes when a blindfolded swordsman sliced a watermelon in half on another man's stomach. No doubt a fairly routine engagement for the world-weary Prince, but for the Duchess it was a new experience.
With ancestors who led troops into bloody battles, it's not surprising to see Prince Charles unfazed. He's not alone: the Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, are practiced in the art of the 'stiff upper lip' whatever the occassion. When Diana died, the royal family experienced some grief over this lack of emotion. So it's a wonder that Camilla, covering her eyes and instinctively flinching, is the focus of attention for..well..being human.
Unfortunately, this quality will go by the wayside once Camilla becomes more royal. She will learn how not to betray her feelings, even in the most dire of circumstances: Queen Victoria survived several assasination attempts, Princess Anne was brave during a kidnapping attempt in 1974. In 1981 the present Queen, most famously during the Trooping the Color when six blank shots were fired at her. In 1982, when Michael Fagan broke into the palace and found the Queen in her bedroom, we were told that the Queen was calm until help arrived. In these instances, the royal family has been lauded for their bravery. How could Camilla recoil from a mere sword?
With headlines that included 'Camilla's hide and Sikh', 'Scaredy-Cat Camilla Covers Her Eyes', 'Duchess of Cornwall Shook by Sikh Swordsman', and 'Charles and Camilla make hair-raising visit to Sikh temple', she paid for it the next day. Well, she can be forgiven for still being on the learning curve. But eventually Camilla will learn to sit impassively through these types of demonstrations, politely applauding afterwards. She will be capable of making small talk with terminally ill patients and in the same day look suitably concerned while visiting the aftermath of devastation and tragedy.
So, trembling with nerves on her wedding day, nervously waving to the crowds and press during the US tour, recoiling from swords....
Enjoy it while it lasts.
© Marilyn Braun 2006
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