Thursday, December 13, 2007

The High Cost of Being Camilla

I woke up this morning to a news item (if one can really call it news) on my AOL home screen, which broke down the annual cost of maintaining the makeover responsible for turning the Duchess of Cornwall from Barbour Shop belle into Belle of the Ball. Relying on an article published on December 9, 2007, in the online edition of The Sunday Times [of London], the AOL article breaks down the cost of hair, makeup, wardrobe, jewels, and of course her Philip Treacy hats (among other items, such as facials and lunches).

The grand tally came to £507,321.58. Since the pound is running a few cents higher than $2 these days--you do the math.

Gee, my hairdresser and colorist (did I say colorist?) would be so delighted if I spent $60K a year at their salon. The owner would surely give me an even bigger smile when he sees me check in. Evidently she gets a blow-out every day. With all that concentrated heat, she'll need some heavy duty conditioning to prevent her straw-colored hair from feeling like it. And I wonder how much a Philip Treacy hat goes for on ebay?

But now that the flower girl has been successfully passed off as a Duchess, thanks to a bevy of Henry Higgginsesque beauty experts and fashion emporia from Mayfair and Kensington, has she found more favor in the public's eyes?

Speaking of concentrated heat, Camilla is still feeling it from the unwashed masses. Some of the public responses posted after the AOL story include:

"You can dress the woman in the finest clothing money can buy....but underneath she's still the whore Charles cheated on Diana with."

And "I'm very surprised that it didn't cost far far more to makeover this thoroughly ruthless, cruel and unkind woman. What the aged Camilla Parker-Bowles looks like now is irrelevant. She remains what she is - the implacably ruthless woman who demeaned her own husband and family and children; who destroyed young Diana's marriage and family; who kept poor weak Charles on a leash; and who is now delighting in her undeserved media fame as she (isn't this true?) dances on Diana's grave. "

Then there were the kinder comments--the ones that merely mentioned that she looks like a drag queen. Care to weigh in, Lypsinka or Hedda Lettuce?

Drag queen Hedda Lettuce (infinitely more glamourous than Camilla)

But there were also some comments from those who have clearly not put their penny in the Princess Diana Canonization Fund boxes: "Diana knew that Charles loves Camilla. Camilla helped pick Diana out. It was arranged. She married her anyway because she wanted to be Princess. Not to mention she admitted throwing herself down the stairs when she was Pregnant. It is wonderful that Charles got to married her true love, and didn't just marry somebody because of some silly rule that you had to marry a virgin."

So, how do you feel about Camilla? Ruthless hussy, or patient Griselda? Do you blame her for wrecking Prince Charles's marriage to Diana?


Cathy Writes Romance said...

It's hard for me to imagine Camilla "did it all for love." With that price tag, it's getting even harder to imagine.

I woke my young self up to watch the wedding of Charles and Diana. I write novels about English nobility falling in love -- of course I bought into the fairy tale.

My younger self would have blamed Camilla entirely. My more mature self knows better -- it's all Charles's fault ... ;o)

The pair is never going to be loved, and Diana's death has all but assured that.

Pam Rosenthal said...

As a reward for making getting my manuscript to my editor (just last Monday!) -- I'm soaking in Tina Brown's wicked smart and deliriously detailed The Diana Chronicles.

Charles, Diana, Camilla -- they're like a game of rock, paper, scissors, each of them more blameworthy than the next; all of them creatures of the ridiculous institutions of royalty and aristocracy.

Human nature being what it is, however, I don't see those institutions going away any time soon (the manuscript I just sent in being a romance set in the late Regency, I certainly plead guilty to sharing those sneaky erotic fascinations with social inequality).

And I'll also confess an affection for Camilla, who, at 45, signed a letter to Charles as "your devoted old bag" -- excellent chutzpah from a woman writing to her lover, when the lover's wife is one of the world's most desired women.

Leslie Carroll said...

cathy and Pam, I love your comments! And the rock-paper-scissors metaphor is bloody apt, Pam!

I admit that the more I learned about the unsaintly aspects of Diana (and they were legion), the less I despised Camilla. Which isn't to say we'll be having tea at the Four Seasons any time in the forseeable future. It's just that I began to understand (and maybe it's because I'm older now) the sort of relationship that anchors you in a way well beyond choosing desire over duty. I began to see how neurotic Diana was, and how Camilla provided that port in a storm for Charles.

Georgie Lee said...

Did you see the article in the London Daily Mail (online) about Rupert Everett using Camilla as his inspiration for his latest cross-dressing role?

Leslie Carroll said...

Oh, Georgie Lee, I have to read that article! What a hoot. Though I imagine Camilla as a drag-inspired look will be a lot more like the title character in CHARLEY'S AUNT or a tranny Lady Bracknell (about 20 years ago I saw the late Ellis Rabb play Lady Bracknell in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST and I thought he absolutely nailed the character--though in general, as an actress myself, I prefer casting women in female roles -- there are so few roles and so many of us as it is without competition from the other gender.)

I'm headed straight to that article link now. :) Thanks, Georgie Lee!