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  • Published: 3 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9781529124712
  • Imprint: Century
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 592
  • RRP: $40.00

The Palace Papers

The Sunday Times bestseller

Extract

Written by Tina Brown, bestselling author of The Diana Chronicles, comes this explosive insight into the Royal Family over the last twenty years.

Based on unprecedented research, The Palace Papers places readers behind the palace walls to tell the real story of the Windsors. Full of exclusive insights and powerful revelations, the book will change the way readers understand the inner workings of the Royal Family.  

~ ~ ~

They chose Valentine’s Day 2005 as the date to release the engagement news and Camilla’s new title of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall bestowed by the Queen. Clarence House announced that when the Prince succeeded the throne, it was ‘intended’ (a well- chosen weasel word) that his wife would be known by the galleon-like title of Princess Consort. The Queen gave her royal consent to the union after consulting Prime Minister Tony Blair. He expressed his approval and delight with a message of congratulations from the whole cabinet. Clarence House settled down to planning a wedding as different as possible from the unhappy associations of the first celebrated Wales union at St Paul’s Cathedral. A civil ceremony at Windsor Castle on Friday, 8 April 2005 avoided religious controversy. A service of prayer and dedication led by the Archbishop of Canterbury at St George’s Chapel brought ecclesiastical stature. The couple decided to eschew engagement pictures and the hazard of a prenuptial interview, with its horrible hark back to ‘whatever “in love” means’ when Charles was told he and Diana looked ‘very much in love’. There would be no glamorous honeymoon on the royal yacht (it was gone anyway). Instead, the newly married couple chose a few quiet days tramping around in the biting cold at Birkhall. It would all be very low- key, very elegant, very age appropriate.

Except it wasn’t. How could it be when the royal groom was the male version of Calamity Jane? First, in perhaps what American shrinks would see as a gesture of acting out that revealed the true turmoil of his feelings, there was a tabloid furore in January 2005 over leaked pictures of Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform from General Rommel’s Second World War Afrika Korps at a costume party. An incensed Charles, who was a nervous wreck before the ‘Big Announcement’, demanded Harry make proper apologies to Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. Prince Charles also blasted William, who’d reportedly dressed in a skin- tight black leotard with leopard- skin paws and a tail, for allowing his younger brother to make such a witless choice. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee launched an inquiry into the standards and responsibilities of Clarence House advisers. The always tone-deaf Duchess of York extended the headlines a further cycle by publicly offering Harry her full support.

Next, royal reporter Robert Jobson of the Evening Standard caught wind of the wedding scoop and bounced Clarence House into announcing the plans early, on 10 February. At first, it seemed all right. Charles and Camilla were due that evening to go to a charity function at Windsor Castle that offered a friendly flashbulb moment outside. Camilla looked radiant in her pink Jean Muir dress. She showed off her ring and told the press she was ‘just coming down to earth!’ The Queen illuminated the Round Tower of the castle as a festive gesture.

The problem: the usually punctilious team led by Michael Peat had made an unfortunate mistake.


The Palace Papers Tina Brown

The explosive inside story of the Royal Family over the last twenty years from Diana to now - from the bestselling author of The Diana Chronicles

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