The subjects still object to Queen Camilla

TIME to cast our minds back to last July. Photographers outside Highgrove, the private residence of Prince Charles and the venue for a party celebrating the 50th birthday of Camilla Parker Bowles, are surprised to find special facilities have been laid on. There's to be none of the usual scrummaging. "If you want to see the main shot, boys, just stay here," the helpful police inspector tells them. It was almost unheard of.

They are more surprises when the main shot approaches, in the form of a Ford Mondeo carrying Mrs Parker Bowles, in a figure-hugging gown. The car slows down to make sure the snappers get a good long look. Around her neck is a diamond and pearl necklace and on her lips is the smile of a woman who senses her time may finally have come.

How long ago it all seems now. At the time, speculation on the subject of a possible marriage between Charles and Camilla was rife. Newspaper polls suggested that public opinion was thawing towards a woman who for some time had played the wicked witch opposite Princess Diana's good fairy

Later in the summer, the pair were due to go on holiday together; then in September would come their first public outing. This was to be at a pounds 100-a-head charity bash on behalf of the National Osteoporosis Society organised by Mrs Parker Bowles. Her mother died of the disease and she is the society's patron. Not exactly competition for the Queen of Hearts, perhaps, but undoubtedly another significant step on the road to acceptance.

It wasn't to be, of course. In a screech of tyres in a Paris underpass, Camilla was once more consigned to the shadows.

But in recent weeks, Mrs Parker Bowles has found herself back in the headlines. Earlier this month, it was revealed that she has been staying at St James's Palace, Charles's London residence. Now comes the revelation that she had been Charles's guest at a weekend party at Sandringham. According to one source, the couple will soon be seen together in public, probably at a charity function. But she will not host any public events on behalf of the National Osteoporosis Society as previously planned.

The most significant date in the resumed rehabilitation of Mrs Parker Bowles will be 14 November, Charles's 50th birthday, when it is likely that a party will be held at Windsor Castle. Undoubtedly Charles would wish to have Camilla on his arm, and he will also want his two sons in attendance. William and Harry have not met Camilla since they were small.

So far, all seems to be going well. There was no outpouring of moral outrage at the news that Camilla had been staying at St James's Palace and newspaper polls show that up to 80 per cent of the public feel Charles should be "forgiven" for his treatment of Diana. So who should take the praise for this public relations success?

Step forward, Peter Mandelson. The fact that he was among the 25 VIP guests at Sandringham was hardly a surprise. Mr Mandelson has subsequently become close to the couple and has lunched with them at Highgrove. Mr Mandelson has also played a major role influencing the discussions by the Way Ahead group - the Royal Family's own think tank - about revolutionising the monarchy.

Whether this will also include the idea of Camilla as Queen Consort is open to debate. The Church has already been softened up regarding a possible marriage. The British people are the problem. It may be a long time before the thousands who mourned Princess Diana are prepared to accept a replacement.

Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Junior IT Support Technician

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service Engineer - Doors / Windows

    £18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist designer and ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Systems Developer

    £26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading provider of tu...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - OTE £30,000+

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn