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She and Charles are re-united at the soup stand (all of our soups are gluten-free, says the sign) and, at the last stand in the market, finally get to taste the “Hog Roast” sandwich I told her about.
After taking a few bites, the Prince calls out to the photographers, “You’ve all got to get one of these when we’re gone.”As the royal couple heads toward the town hall to unveil a plaque commemorating their visit, the Beefeaters click their heels, raise their rifles, and stand at attention; a military band strikes up a patriotic anthem; schoolboys wave Union Jacks; and little girls line up to hand the Duchess roses and carnations.
The scene is like something out of a 1950s Hollywood movie, perfectly staged, beautifully lit, innocently exuberant.
Obviously, there’s a serious purpose to this country street party.
Trash bins have been sealed in heavy-duty plastic, and the local police are out in force, as well as Beefeaters armed with automatic rifles.
Their first stop in Richmond was the Georgian Theatre Royal, where they watched a short play on the history of the town put on by the local youth theater. Women far outnumber men in the well-behaved crowd, which is polite and curious but not adulatory. James’s Palace reception for recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross, honors given for war heroism.“Oh,” she says, “here you are again.” I’ve heard that she has a deep voice, but I’m surprised at just how husky it really is, apparently from decades of chain-smoking.“Yes, Your Royal Highness,” I reply, trying not to trip over the honorific.“Are you enjoying yourself?Obviously there had been tremendous sadness—anything’s sad where people get hurt.Unfortunately, today marriages do go wrong.…But if you’re going to go through all that heartache, well, at least if people end up happy, at least something comes out of it.”“To see Tom and Laura and William and Harry all together like a real happy, modern family was fantastic,” says Camilla’s nephew Ben Elliot of the couple’s children.And I think his happiness can only mean good things for his sons and for the country.”This month the pair will make their first trip to the United States together, on a 10-day tour of Washington, New York, and San Francisco, which includes a rare black-tie dinner at the Bush White House, a visit to Ground Zero, and the 11,800th performance of the camp musical When I heard about the trip, I requested a meeting with Prince Charles’s communications secretary, Paddy Harverson, at Clarence House to see if I could do the first authorized profile of the Duchess.I was well aware that Camilla had sworn to go to her grave without ever having given an interview.
They are also convinced that she will be a great support to the Prince of Wales in facing whatever challenges fortune brings while he waits to succeed his mother as England’s 39th monarch in a direct line that goes all the way back to Egbert in 827.