A Royal Wedding. Again.
Embarrassing but true: in my thirties, I had a serious girlcrush on Diana, Princess of Wales. I had the bangs, I had the frilly collars, I had the pearl choker; I had the pale hose, dumb dresses and shoes with bows.
I lived out this admiration to such an extent that I got up at three in the morning on the day Diana married Charles and *ahem* arranged to have my husband-to-be propose to me as the royal couple took their ill-advised vows.
But wait. There's more.
Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, apparently Diana and I together-but-separately experienced the crushing disillusionment that often occurs after the long white dress and the pearl-studded veil have been drycleaned and put away.
Marriage is not what one expects.
And the excitement of fulfilling your mother's fondest wishes -- finally, and in great detail (except for that virginity thing) -- comes crashing down to earth when you realize you failed to read the small print on the wife contract before you signed it.
Marriage at its best, one imagines, is a union of souls -- a cleaving of selves -- rocketingly good sex.
Marriage in reality is deciding what to make for dinner, arguing over who cleaned the bathroom last (and this is an enlightened age. Our mothers didn't argue these points. They just did it or, if fortunate, hired someone to do it). And yelling (if that's your style. Or maybe just seething) about clothes that don't make it into the laundry basket. There is also quite a bit of struggle over dog hair and its disposition.
Marriage at its best is living with your best friend. Who rocks your sexual world.
Marriage in reality is a series of small and large compromises on every issue imaginable.
Diana as feminine archetype lived out the paradigmatic "what have I gotten myself into" that women find when they open the Pandora's Box of connubial bliss. Even to the point, some would say, of dying for refusing to toe the societal line.
I'm not one for conspiracy theories. I think what was evident and in bright light was bad enough.
Diana loved -- and desperately needed -- Charles for everything she thought he was (but wasn't). And she seriously acted out when she found out differently.
Charles loved Diana -- kind of -- for her role as the mother of his children, but he loved someone else for all the other stuff.
Not so much, as fairytales go. And, of course, my marriage-launched-at-the-last-royal-wedding wasn't so good either (although I came out of mine alive, with a dear friend, and I learned a great deal).
I would bet that Charles and Camilla -- unattractive as they may be on the face of things -- are not harboring many illusions. Yet, they have managed to remain what appears to be each other's best friends, in the face of daunting odds and 30 years of strife. For this I give them credit.
And I hope the sex is good.