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Charles doesn’t see revived interest in Diana as a “threat”
We have all, by now, heard of the controversy swirling around series four of The Crown, and the furious Palace response to what it claims are lies and misrepresentations (especially around the circumstances of the breakdown of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage.)
This week, more fuel was poured on the fire when Netflix tweeted a link to a controversial film about the marriage from their corporate account.
Conservative peer Lord Forsyth of Drumlean accused the streaming giant of “crossing a line,” with the tweet and said he would raise the issue in the House of Lords and with the Prime Minister directly.
Forsyth also wrote to Britain’s broadcasting watchdog complaining of the “hurtful, false, misleading and poisonous impression of people in our public life who cannot fight back.”
He called for Netflix to be regulated in the U.K. in line with other broadcasters, telling the Daily Mail: “If Netflix are also using a corporate account in that way [to deliberately publicize negative programs about the Royal Family] then the case for regulation is even stronger.
“Netflix can’t continue to say, ‘This is drama, this is not our fault.’ They are clearly using a program which is sensationalist and mendacious to promote their commercial interests.”
Oddly, however the person who should be most offended doesn’t seem to be.
Royal commentator Katie Nicholl told 9Honey: “Listen, it’s no secret that Charles felt very overshadowed by Diana and her popularity and her incredible star, absolutely. But I’m absolutely sure he doesn’t see that sudden revived interest in her as a threat at all. I think more a frustration that the past keeps getting dredged up when he is trying to move forward ... and has been for the past 15 years.”
Nicholl thinks the show, fictional project that it is, “could rekindle some of the ill feeling of the past.” The real person who could suffer is Camilla, who over recent years has rehabilitated her public image.
“I think it’s not just Charles’s image that's gone through a sort of 360 [since the 1980s], it’s Camilla’s too,” said Nicholl. “Her reinvention has been a remarkable one and one that’s taken a lot of work on her part, on the part of her courtiers and I actually feel quite sorry for the Duchess of Cornwall. I think particularly this year we’ve seen more of her, we’ve head more from her, we’ve warmed more to her in a way that many people hadn’t up until this point but she’s been so brilliant during this pandemic—she’s provided hope, I think, and positivity to so many people…now she’s faced with this.
“I think it’s a bit hard not to feel sorry for her, but what I admire about Camilla is that she’s thick-skinned enough to just brush it off and take it all with a big pinch of salt. I think that's to be admired about her.”
Of course, if they were really watching it, the royals might be grateful to the Netflix show for humanizing them somewhat. A new poll shows that the popularity of the royal family has broadly increased since series four became available last month. A poll of 1,023 viewers, found that 35% of people who watched the new series said their impression of the royals had “improved” either “a bit” or “a lot.”
Harry mistaken for Christmas tree salesman
So Prince Harry just wants to be seen as a regular guy? He reportedly had his wish granted when a little boy mistook him for a Christmas tree salesman. The Daily Mail reports that the mix-up happened on Tuesday when Harry and Meghan were out shopping for a tree for their mansion in Montecito, California at a pop-up called Big Wave Dave’s Christmas Trees & Pumpkin Patch.
“Meghan and Prince Harry came into my work today and we sold them their Christmas Tree,” shop-worker James Almaguer tweeted, according to the Mail (his account now appears locked). “It was anticlimactic, but a very, very interesting experience.”
“We had our lot empty when they got there—their agent promoted them a good time to come instead of us shutting it down,” Almaguer told the Mail. “There was one family in there and their stoked little son ran through trees up to Harry and asked if he worked here not knowing who that is… They seem like very nice people honestly. Meghan sounds very kind and Harry sounded and acted like a chill lad honestly. I’m really glad they liked our trees. We got the best we could get. Very appreciative.”
The queen is grieving, having lost another of her beloved dogs, British tabloid The Sun reports.
The sad news for the queen is that her dog Vulcan, a dachshund-corgi cross known as a dorgi, died this week, meaning she has just one dog left, another dorgi, named Candy.
The queen, confronting her own mortality, took the difficult decision a few years ago that she would not continue breeding her beloved corgis and dorgis. She does not want to be survived by any of her dogs, not least because the rest of her family have made it clear they do not like them.
Both Prince William and Prince Harry have publicly joked about the lack of appeal HM’s dogs hold for them. Prince William said in an interview about his grandmother that the corgis bark “all the time,” adding: “I don’t know how she copes with it, but her private life with her dogs and her riding and her walking, it’s very important to her. I would just question the noise!”
Harry said in an interview to mark his engagement to Meghan Markle that he had spent his life being barked at by the queen’s corgis but that they had been welcoming to Meghan.
Vulcan, who was pictured with the queen in a 2016 Vanity Fair shoot, is thought to have died at Windsor Castle, leaving the British monarch with just one remaining dog after a lifetime of owning many of the animals, who frequently accompanied her on official trips.
A palace source told The Sun, “Clearly the loss of a loved pet is upsetting.”
In 2018, the Queen lost Willow, the last descendant of her original corgi, Susan, the dog she received on her 18th birthday in 1944. Willow famously appeared beside James Bond actor Daniel Craig for a sketch shown during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
First in line
The Sunday Times reports that the queen and Prince Philip, 94 and 99 respectively, will “let it be known” that they have received the Pfizer Covid shot after receiving the vaccination to encourage take up. Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock told the Telegraph he was looking for “some absolutely wonderful nonagenarians... to come forward and be vaccinated.” He refused to say whether he was thinking about the queen and the duke.
Expect to see a fair bit of William and Kate in the headlines this week. The couple are taking a two-day ride on the Royal Train to visit organizations and individuals across the U.K. who have been on the front lines during the pandemic.
Use of the Royal Train is usually reserved for the Monarch and her heir.
William and Kate will be traveling a total of 1,250 miles on the luxurious locomotive to meet teachers, volunteers, front-line workers, care home staff, schoolchildren and young people to hear about their experiences with the pandemic and thank them for their efforts, their office at Kensington Palace said.
Prince William, 38, “struggled to breathe” after being struck down by Covid back in April, days after Prince Charles, and Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, were also hit.
This week in royal history
Charles and Diana’s marriage isn’t just looming large because of The Crown. On December 9, 1992, the couple’s separation was announced officially by then-British Prime Minister John Major. They divorced four years later.
The queen has embraced virtual communications this year, and on Friday she carried out her very first virtual audience. The monarch, who is isolating at Windsor Castle, met with three international ambassadors via video calls conducted with the help of her staff. So, one wonders, with the various royal households isolating this Christmas, will they connect via Zoom for a collective “Merry Christmas” and present opening session?