Duchess Camilla Will Watch Herself on The Crown, Even As Royal Experts Worry It Could Damage the Monarchy 

Among the millions of people watching the new season of The Crown this weekend will be someone who is an integral part of the story: Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

According to sources close to the royal, Camilla has watched previous seasons of the hit TV show and plans to watch series four, which depicts her as the long-time mistress of Prince Charles, and an obstacle in his marriage to Princess Diana.

“I imagine she’ll be tuning in with a glass of red wine to watch it, she has seen the previous series,” said a friend of the royal. “She has a wonderful sense of humor and this won’t fuss her in the slightest.”

The Queen and Princess Anne are said to have no interest in watching the Netflix drama—according to a family friend, “the Queen has no desire to watch herself in a fictitious TV program, while Anne has no time for such nonsense.” But Camilla, who is played by Emerald Fennell, is more curious about her on-screen persona.

“She has watched it, of course she has and I believe [Charles] has too,” added the source. “I don’t think she has any real issue with it. Her feeling is very much ‘never complain, never explain.’”

According to royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith, who has written biographies of the Queen, Prince Charles and Diana, the portrayal of Charles and Camilla’s relationship is largely fictitious and could be “uncomfortable viewing” for the future king and his wife.

“Because The Crown is such a lavish and expensive production, so beautifully acted and cleverly written, and so much attention has been paid to visual details about historical events, viewers are tricked into believing that what they are seeing actually happened,” Bedell Smith told Vanity Fair. “While the earlier seasons were period pieces, this is recent history, so it seems more cruel in its false depictions.”

While Bedell Smith concedes that Charles really was that hesitant about marrying Diana, she believes from her extensive research that Charles was committed to making the marriage work. “Peter Morgan has created his own personal narrative of Charles and Camilla’s relationship that is largely fictional. If Diana had been grounded and confident and clever, her other good qualities such as her sense of humor and natural warmth could have won Charles over in a heartbeat, and Camilla would have been history. Charles actually appreciated Diana’s quick wit; during the engagement, he wrote to his grandmother about how funny Diana was.”

She continued, “He did not enter into the marriage cynically, thinking he could keep a mistress on the side. He was telling the truth when he said to Jonathan Dimbleby on camera in 1994 that he had remained faithful to his wedding vows until his marriage to Diana became ‘irretrievably broken down’ in 1986, when he resumed his intimate relationship with Camilla. It’s fair to say that between 1981 and 1986, Charles and Camilla were in telephone contact when he was in distress and needed a sympathetic ear, but their physical relationship was in abeyance for five years.”

In the two decades since Diana’s death, Britons have largely forgiven Charles for his part in the failed marriage, and learned to accept and respect Camilla as the Duchess of Cornwall. Once persona non grata, she is now one of the most popular members of the royal family. And her role in the pandemic, which saw her stepping up as a front line royal supporting the Queen, has won her even greater respect.

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