Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law are a popular formula for disaster, but add the pressures of living in a fishbowl, the scandal of an extra-marital affair and a generous splash of jealousy to the mix and you have the recipe for a royal blow-up. At least, in the case of the former Kate Middleton and her fabled monster-in-law, Duchess Camilla of Cornwall, that's what the tabloids would have you believe. The National Enquirer reports the new Duchess of Windsor recently told Prince Charles' controversial wife to "go to hell!"
Despite the base appeal of picturing classy Kate engaging in feline warfare with her much maligned mother-in-law, the believability of the rumor is a stretch -- even for rabid royal watchers.
The back story behind the rumor is straight out of a Victorian novel. Camilla Parker-Bowles, known by some of her detractors as the "horsey divorcee," allegedly busted up the marriage of Prince William's mummy Princess Diana and daddy Prince Charles -- the latter of whom was hung up on his former flame even at the time of his marriage.
Prince Charles eventually admitted to behaving badly with Camilla and betraying his pretty and popular wife, who was beloved by seemingly everyone except -- inexplicably -- him. The royal couple ultimately split like a deck of cards, and the divorced prince hid out in the dog house for many years as he discretely renewed his affair with -- and eventually wed -- his long-time lover.
Fireworks started anew when the cute and clever Kate Middleton emerged on the scene as Prince William's affianced, replacing the doted on Diana as the media's darling du jour. Comparisons between the brunette beauty and the deceased princess filled the pages of celebrity magazines, which were hungry for a new royal on whom to dote.
All of this pent-up drama set the stage for the mythological show down between Kate and Camilla. Since the insecure Diana could never confront her nemesis directly, the media may have concocted the idea to use the self-assured 29-year-old bride of her older son as her surrogate. The Enquirer recently "reported" that Camilla has been gossiping to friends that Kate is "a joke" -- an uppity commoner." The alleged insult prompted the imperious younger woman to tell her off, a clash the Globe dubbed a "shouting match" and "bitter palace showdown."
No doubt Camilla has some cause to be jealous where Kate is concerned. Her recent rival is considered beautiful and fashionable, whereas Camilla could be kindly dubbed plain. The new Duchess of Windsor also gets to spend her youthful years in public with her royal consort whereas the second Mrs. Prince Charles had to wait until she was middle-aged to mingle respectably with her royal Romeo.
Camilla could be kicking herself for dashing madly into marriage with a military officer in the early 70s instead of patiently waiting for Prince Charles to pop the question. Though often mocked as "Waity Katy," Kate's careful calculation paid off. As a result of her impetuousness, Camilla never had the chance to give birth to a future king or queen of England or be chatted up as a possible Vogue magazine cover girl.
Still, now that Camilla has finally become tolerated, if not toasted, by her fellow Brits, being a brat to her daughter-in-law would make her denser than the front doors of Buckingham Palace. The likelihood that she would incite a tongue lashing from her popular royal relative is slimmer than the latter's legendary waistline. More likely it is just another fanciful fairy tale cooked up by bored reporters.
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- Kate Middleton
- Prince Charles
- Duchess of Windsor
- Prince William