Tina Brown: Duchess Camilla is ‘the horse-whisperer’ for Charles, she manages him

Tina Brown’s latest book, The Palace Papers, comes out in a few weeks. The book is already being excerpted by Vanity Fair and the Telegraph, and Brown is already giving interviews to promote it. The Telegraph had a lengthy interview with Brown plus some summaries and excerpts of the book. This piece is so long that I’m actually splitting it up into two posts. This the first post, and it’s all about the Queen, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and a little bit about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Part 2 of the coverage will be Brown’s Sussex drama. Let’s get started!

No one in the Windsor clan wanted “another Diana”: ‘The it being Diana’s explosive celebrity, the problem of the monarchy being upstaged, outshone by… anyone other than the Queen or the heir to the throne. The refrain most repeated at the Palace was, “We don’t want another Diana.” Never again!’

Prince Andrew is a ‘coroneted sleaze machine’. ‘It’s utterly grotesque, the whole Andrew business. I was told only yesterday by someone at the Palace just how deeply distressing it has been for the Queen. Frankly, if your children can kill you hers will. Here is this remarkable, elderly woman who is summoning all her strength to get through her Platinum Jubilee and then this bucket of sleaze empties over her family.’ Brown says the Prince of Wales and William and appalled but The Andrew Problem is hard to solve. ‘What are they going to do to disappear this healthy, 62-year-old man – lock him up at the top of Glamis Castle? At least in the time of Henry V they could just have banished him. All he can do now is go riding – Andrew used to absolutely hate riding by the way, but he’s doing a lot of it at the moment because the only person who’ll talk to him is the horse!’

When the Queen dies: ‘I do think the country is going to have the most enormous national nervous breakdown when the Queen dies. I mean, 70 years is longer than Queen Victoria. The deluge of grief after Victoria was extraordinary and that was in the pre-media age. Losing the Queen will be a shattering blow, but I am actually more of a Charles optimist than many… Look, I think Charles could become the grandfather of the nation. I actually think people might rally to him because he is an authentic person and he’s coming in at a moment when his own passions really do meld with the times we live in. His long-standing passion for the environment and concern about climate change, these are not Palace-manufactured things. And I think Camilla has a chance to be a sort of instant queen mother. She’s got a lot of charm and naturalness and they have this incredible bond as a couple.’

Camilla the Horse-Whisperer: ‘Camilla is the horse whisperer for [Charles]. She understands his temperament perfectly. She’s got that incredible mistress’s EQ [emotional intelligence] about when to be tart in terms of pulling him up if he’s being pompous… There’s a little bit of tough love, but it’s always couched with warmth and humour. It’s very like how the Queen Mother was with George VI. She was able to manage him without him knowing he was being managed. And that’s true of Camilla; I think she steadies Charles in a way that is very healthy for him. He’s a much more relaxed man when he’s around her and she does make him laugh. She’s a funny woman. And she shares all his interests and friends which Diana never shared.’

Whether William & Kate would be “better” for the country rather than Charles: ‘Obviously, William and Kate would generate more excitement, but they also have to then reinvent the monarchy which, funnily enough, is more difficult for them to do. It’s much easier if Charles has taken some of the heat for the changes. Following a mighty leader like Elizabeth II, it’s often better if you have a period of transition before another more charismatic leader comes in. He’d better not stick around too long though! Let’s put it delicately, if the transition does not go on till Charles is 101 I think it’ll be all right.’

Diana would have hated Queen Consort Camilla: ‘Diana would have loathed the idea of Queen Camilla, there’s no question about it, but we’re 25 years on. The Queen’s always been a pragmatist and she knows Charles wants Camilla to be queen. So what the Queen wants to do now is tidy up and do what she can to help Charles take on the role. It was a very shrewd bit of estate planning to make that declaration.’

Women are the saviors of the monarchy: ‘The royal business is going to be slow and maddening and self-suppressing, but it seems we have in Kate someone very unusual, a modern woman who’s willing to do those things. With William, Kate was brilliant at playing the long game. She went for the gold. Just as Camilla played the long game with Charles, in a different way. It was brutal, Camilla was so reviled. The Shands’ family motto is, “Thou shalt not whine,” and Camilla has lived by it. Imagine if she gave an interview to Oprah about what she’s been called in her life, although she never would. And, it turns out, the definition of succeeding in the monarchy is you have to be willing to play the long game. What is interesting about the Queen declaring Camilla will be queen, as well as her clear approbation for Kate, is the Queen is beginning to see that suitability to be royal is not necessarily about pedigree. It’s, have you got the qualities to play the long game? Kate and Camilla do.’

[From The Telegraph]

Camilla is Charles’s horse whisperer?? More like Charles wants his women to look like horses. Charles is the true horse-whisperer. As for what Brown says about William and Kate possibly being more “popular” rulers than Charles… I doubt it. I mean, I’m not trying to disrupt the throne games (neither is Tina Brown), but I actually agree with her that Charles’s “appeal” is that he actually knows how to do the job and he understands he will be a more transitional monarch. That being said, Brown willfully glosses over William’s unsuitability for the job. I suspect Brown’s task is a lot like Robert Lacey’s – they know William is an incandescent ball of illiterate rage, but also… Kensington Palace is leaking like a sieve and they love the gossip. As for the stuff about Andrew… why does no one give the Queen any agency when it comes to Andrew? Liz has been willfully covering up his messes for decades. She chooses to cover for him and it speaks to HER character.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid and Instar.

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