Tuesday, May 9, 2023

In defense of King Charles III

      There isn't as much room in the newspaper for letters as there used to be. So with this reader being disappointed that the Sun-Times wouldn't print his letter about how off-base he felt I was about King Charles, and with a yawning void labeled "Tuesday" sitting in front of me, waiting to be filled, I thought I would serve as a middle man and bring the two together. 

    Rob Hirsh writes:

     Good morning Neil. It is actually rare that I disagree with you; call it respect for your work that I feel duty bound to let you know when I do. Herewith my response to your column of last week, which I submitted to the paper but doesn’t appear will be published: Neil Steinberg’s disdain of the British monarchy in general and King Charles in particular is abundantly clear from his opening salvo that “there is something squinty and inbred about the man—his parents were third cousins, remember.”
     Wow, talk about a cheap shot—not to mention simply wrong. Third cousins share roughly 0.78% DNA, which hardly puts them in like company with the “Deliverance”-style sub-basics he suggests. As for the disastrous marriage between Charles and Diana, which Steinberg lays squarely at the feet of Charles, it is not that simple; in fact it was a union doomed from the start for reasons not all his fault. Most simply (although there was certainly other criteria), the non-virginal 33-year-old Camilla Parker Bowles — the woman the 32-year-old heir to the throne truly loved — was unsuitable to become the future Queen Consort of England. The 20-year-old, pretty Diana Spencer, virginal indeed, with perhaps as much blue-blood as Charles, was, in a word: perfect. The world got the fairy-tale marriage with glittery trappings it wanted; Charles and Diana, not so much.
     Yes, Charles cheated on his wife early on, and while that is certainly not to be defended, it wasn’t as if he’d snuck around looking for fresh action because he was randy, but because the institution he’d been born into with many of its cockamamie rules insisted he be miserable rather than marry his true soul mate. And let’s not forget that Diana cheated also; and while it always be conjecture whether she’d have done so had her husband not done so first, it certainly made it easier to escape, in whatever fashion she could, a marriage that seemed to be loveless from the get-go.
     Summation: had these two mismatched people not been pressured into a union neither seemed to truly want, Diana Spencer, who loved children, might have gone on to live a quiet life as a British school teacher, or perhaps owner of an antiques shop in the Cotswolds—and be very much alive.


  1. I've never understood why the blue-blooded Diana was so universally popular. Maybe it's me. Charles and Diana never seemed to be happy, and they were definitely mismatched...thrown together like two unrelated seatmates on a hellish 18-hour flight to Australia.

    Camilla was his soulmate, but Charles didn't marry her until about 35 years after they first met. Camilla was reviled and despised, but that is no longer the case. She seems like a good person. Good enough to be called Queen? Why the hell not?

    I felt a sense of relief, and I was delighted, when they finally married in 2005. Maybe because I experienced similar circumstances...met a special woman at 18, broke up, had an unhappy first marriage (and a late one, at 40) to someone else, and finally married the love of my life thirty years ago... 27 years (to the day) after meeting her on a blind date.

    Diana met an untimely and unspeakably sad end...hounded to death...literally...by a pack of tabloid jackals. My wife and I have never had any paparazzi problems.

  2. Maybe not a cheap shot but not exactly sensitive either. I doubt Neil would tell that to the King’s face had they had the opportunity to meet.
    This royalty thing is like religion to me. It had its usefulness (as cruel as it was) at one time but now, not so much.
    Regarding paparazzi, I’ve managed to keep them at bay by disguise. I live in a modest home and drive a Toyota. Even when we go to fancy places, very few journalists are bombarding my wife and me with camera flashes after the valet opens our doors..

  3. The obsession with pampered, wealthy people who are famous because of accidents of birth escapes me. I knew a guy growing up who could play the William Tell Overture by snapping his fingers. Way more interesting than members of "royalty".

  4. Hmmm...so the OP thought to take you aback for your sideways view of King Chuck and the monarchy, by...bashing the monarchy?

  5. Perhaps the effects inflicted on two women are an indictment of the monarchy. Camilla reviled for not living up to someone else's expectations and Diana for taking back her life from the nation.

  6. I still tend to blame Charles and Camilla more, along with the ridiculous rules.

  7. Perhaps the "third cousin" reference was a cheap shot, but, unlike much of what passes for commentary these days, it was not fake news. Toning Neil's column down to the level where he never said anything that would ruffle a feather somewhere would essentially wrestle the jewels from the Crown, so to speak. His bracing asides and analogies are unmatched in the Chicago media landscape and are often the highlights of any given edition of the paper.

    The story of the CDC triangle is a tragic one, it seems to me. I guess watching 5 seasons of The Crown has changed my perspective, as I'm no fan of the royalty-industrial complex in general, and certainly was not a participant in what Neil aptly called "The Full Diana." But that guy who played Charles in Season 4 was quite compelling, to be followed by the inimitable Dominic West in Season 5. I don't view Charles as the one-note twit that I did before.

    In short, I guess I think this was a pretty good letter. Certainly as worthy of being published in the Sun-Times as many of the axe-grinding diatribes that seem to characterize the very essence the typical "letter to the editor" that one reads.

  8. "Third Cousins" a cheap shot? Hardly. It's all part of the acerbic, witty humor I enjoy from the greatest columnist in the free world. And I'll be back tomorrow for some more.

  9. Ultimately, the whole situation, current and past, is insignificant to me. I'm surprised by all the pomp still shown - especially by those outside of England. I see no difference in the celebrity of the King and his Consort and that of his dismissed and dissed son and DIL, but I haven't been on the bandwagon of many of the 'celebrities' like Kardasians and those seen on evening game shows - where I'm told the people involved are celebrities. Anyway... I have no respect for Charles - whether he had a 'rough life' or not - for the discussions he made. Diana may not have been as 'pure' at the end as she was in the beginning. Although Camilla shall have my shun.

  10. There hasn't been an English royal worth their salt since Queen Anne died and they grabbed the leftovers from Hanover. Its a silly sideshow that needs to go, or at a minimum, be ignored.


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