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Suzy

Reflections of Camilla ... Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, and Richard Gere and Carey Lowell were the stars at the Red Ball at The Pierre

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I first met Camilla Parker Bowles about 20 years ago. At that time, Prince Charles had been married to Princess Diana for several years.

Camilla was a guest at a small private party in the house where I was staying in the Cotswolds, directly across from Highgrove, the Prince of Wales’ beautiful country house. Then, even though it was not exactly common knowledge, it was certainly known by the British cognoscenti and in royal circles that Camilla was the prince’s mistress. No sooner had she walked in the door than the polite whispering began. Several friends couldn’t wait to tell me that this luminous lady, despite his marriage, was the love of his life and that they were very much together, Princess Diana or not.

After that, you can imagine how I looked her over. There were those who thought she couldn’t hold a candle to the young and beautiful Diana. But there were others, especially me, who thought her fascinating, charming and certainly sexually appealing, cool and confident. No affectation there. I liked her at once. 

Later when I mentioned this to Drue Heinz, the Heinz heiress who knows everyone who is anyone in England, she agreed. “That sex appeal seems to run in the family,” she said. “Her brother, Mark Shand, has it.” And, of course, the intriguing history of her great-grandmother, Lady Keppel, is known as one of England’s great royal scandals. Alice Keppel was Edward VII’s mistress, one in a long line and one he apparently loved the most. King Edward was also Charles’ great-great-grandfather. 

With the Charles-Diana marriage in chaos, I thought even then that Camilla would somehow prevail and that Diana would never be a match for her. After Diana’s death, I had seen Camilla and Charles together on many different occasions. I believed one day she and Charles would marry and wrote that this was more or less predestined. When they are together, their love and devotion is so obvious. It’s just there. So April 8th will be a great day for both of them. May they live happily ever after.
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