From the miracle of the Princess of Wales there flows a true wonder

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The Independent Online
"HAVE you seen those new Camilla stamps?" said the man at the bar the other night.

"Have you gone mad?" said the woman with orange hair. "Camilla stamps?"

"Do you mean the Diana stamps?" I said.

"No," said the man. "I mean the Camilla stamps."

"There are no Camilla stamps," said the orange lady. "Unless the Togo Republic has issued some."

"No, there aren't." said the man. "Not yet. But it is not impossible that there might be one day. If Diana stamps, why not Camilla stamps? That is the point I was making."

"It's Diana's last revenge," said the orange lady. "She's done it again. You've got to hand it to her."

"Done what?" I said. "Did I miss something? What has Diana done?"

"Edged Camilla off the front page," said the orange lady. "Diana has been dead for nearly a year, and she's still front page news. They can't get rid of her. And now she's back on British stamps, ten times the size of the Queen. They must have thought they'd got shot of her after the funeral, but she won't go away."

"Got shot of her?" said a man called Jim. "Are you one of those who maintain that there was a Royal Family conspiracy to have her assassinated?"

"Of course not," said the orange lady. "The Royal Family couldn't manage anything so complicated. The Royal Family can't get anything right. They can't even work the fire alarms at Windsor Castle. How on earth do you think they'd manage an assassination?"

"It would make a change, though," I said. "For a royal family to organise an assassination, I mean. Historically it's always been the other way round. People have always assassinated royals. Nice for a royal to assassinate someone."

"Come off it," said the man called Jim. "Henry VIII spent most of his life assassinating people. Sometimes he married them first, sometimes he didn't."

"The one thing that always amazed me about the Diana business," said the orange lady, ignoring all this, "was the way everyone urged the Royal Family to do their grieving in public. Why did anyone ever assume that they were grieving at all? For years Diana had been driving them potty. They just wanted her out of the way. Then suddenly one day she was out of the way. I should think they all put on funny hats and ran round celebrating. The reason they didn't grieve in public was that they were all partying in private."

"Allegedly," said the landlord, who gets nervous sometimes when the talk starts to get dangerous.

"Thing that amazes me," said the man called Jim, "is why they haven't called for Diana to be made a saint. If they can make Rupert Murdoch a saint, surely they can do it to Diana?"

"Point one, they haven't made Mr Murdoch a saint, only papal knight or Swiss Guard or something," said the orange lady. "Point two, Diana can't be a saint until a miracle has happened. And there haven't been any Diana miracles."

"Oh, yes, there have," I said.

Everyone turned and looked at me, amost as astounded as if I had offered to buy a round.

"It's to do with these Diana stamps," I said. "You know they came out on February 3rd?"

"Take your word for it."

"So first day covers were all stamped on February 3rd."

"That's normal."

"But such has been the demand for these Diana stamps that they have extended the season through the whole of February, and you can get Diana First Day Covers stamped from now till the end of the month. This has never been done for anyone else. But for Diana the first day has become a month long. Isn't that a miracle? To have a First Day last a whole month?"

"No," said the orange lady. "It's a load of baloney."

"So, what would you call a miracle?" I said.

"To have Camilla Parker Bowles featured on a stamp," said the man at the bar.

"All right, all right," I said, fearful that the whole conversation would start all over again. "What would you all like to drink?"

"My God, he's buying us a round !" said the orange lady. "It's a miracle!"