A Greater Love: Prince Charles's Twenty Year Affair With Camilla Parker Bowles Hardcover – 1 Dec 1994
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Edward, who became the Duke of Windsor, decided that, if he could not have both Wallis and the crown, then the crown would be forfeited. Two generations later, his great-nephew, Charles, Prince of Wales, appears likely to inherit the crown, and at the same time retain "the woman I love," despite the bitter-ender, hateful opposition of a considerable segment of the British people who have never gotten over Princess Diana.
Christopher Wilson tells us in "A Greater Love" of Charles' first meeting with Camilla Parker Bowles, who would become the love of his life, in the early 1970s. Camilla, whose great-grandmother was mistress to Charles's great-great-grandfather, Edward VII, boldly proposed to the prince, a year younger than herself, "How about it?" In other words, "Let's emulate our randy ancestors!" And, as Wilson relates to us, they did. And found that each was the other's soulmate.
Nine years later, with Camilla now married to a dashing military officer and Charles under great pressure from his father, Prince Philip, and others to pick a bride and get busy producing some heirs, the Prince of Wales wed the tall, enormously photogenic Lady Diana Spencer in the most-watched nuptials of all time. It was a fairy-tale wedding to nearly all of those hundreds of millions who watched it on television.
Alas, as we all know now, the fairy-tale turned into a horror story in less time than it took to produce two heirs. Charles didn't -- couldn't -- give up Camilla just because he was now legally married. Diana sensed immediately that she was not first in the heart of her husband, and began a slow-motion meltdown over that fact, that went on for years. Included were screaming temper tantrums, shouting matches, a dramatic fall, or deliberate throwing of herself, down a staircase when she was pregnant, and gradually, a deliberate "getting even" campaign on Diana's part to upstage and embarrass her husband publicly at every opportunity, aided and abetted by a news media which was so besotted by her that they were very easily manipulated. Charles' refusal, on most occasions, to argue back at her only increased her fury and paranoia.
Wilson tells us of the announcement, coming finally in Parliament in December 1992, that Charles and Diana were separating. The last part of the book consists of extensive quotes from prominent Church of England hierarchy, harrummphing about how Charles can never inherit the throne if he is divorced, how he must give up Camilla at once and remain celibate for the rest of his life in order to become king, and other absurd hooey.
Wilson's book was published in 1994, before Charles' and Diana's divorce was announced, before Diana's tragic death in that Paris auto accident in 1997, before Charles' and Camilla's eventual marriage. Most of the predictions in the book, by Wilson and others, have been proven wrong by time. My prediction is that Charles will one day be king, and Camilla will be queen, no matter how furious it makes a certain segment of British society whose attitude toward Camilla seems to be, "Never forgive, never forget." But Charles showed that being true to his own heart, and to "the woman I love," not the woman he was married to, was the only path he could abide for himself, regardless of the consequences.
"A Greater Love" is entertaining, and Wilson does make considerable efforts to be fair and even-handed to both sides in this bizarre series of events which lasted nearly a quarter-century. That is a lot more than could be said for many of the books written about the Charles-Diana-Camilla affair, which usually side quite blatantly with one side or the other. Usually Diana's.
This book is a waste of time and money. No stars even if I was obliged by the template to give it at least one.