While Prince Charles wings his way to Rome today for the spectacle to end all spectaculars, the future Queen of Australia won’t be busy mourning. At a cost of two hundred pounds, the next Princess of Wales (or Duchess of Cornwall or Countess of Carrick or Countess of Chester – titles she assumes when she marries tomorrow) will be transformed for the second big day in her life. Facial, hair job and manicure – some unkind Sloane Square types are already saying it will be a relief not to see that horse manure under her nails anymore.

It’s not everyday that a fifty-something divorcee gets the Queen of England as a mother-in-law, and Camilla is making sure she’ll look the part as Charles – her lover for almost 30 years – makes an honest woman of her. The couple will publicly say how sorry they are for having sex for most of the time they were married to others.

Will the indignities they are suffering ever end? Monarchists are trying to come to terms with all of this. After all, their precious royal family is billed as a model for ordinary folk to emulate. Senator Amanda Vanstone this week asked us to consider our colonial status when she said: “If you love the Queen, set her free.” That’s shorthand for bring on the Republic.

Peter Fray

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