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    Newlyweds Charles and Camilla (aka The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall) have jetted to the USA for their first official overseas tour since their marriage. The happy couple will be taking in the sights at Washington, San Francisco, New Orleans and York, as well as meeting George W Bush and Kofi Anan.Sadly for Clarence House the Americans seem pretty ambivalent in their response to the royal convoy. poll carried out by CNN showed that 81% of are simply not interested in the honeymooning couple’s trip.Similarly, the Daily Mirror took to the streets of York last week armed with photos of Camilla in an attempt to see if anyone could recognise her – the results were rather worrying. One person thought she was Madonna, while another mistook er for Barbara Cartland. One cab driver even suggested she might be Princess Diana.The response of the US media seems equally lacklustre. Previewing the royal couple’s tour, the USA Today newspaper lead with the headline, “Visit is a royal bore for most in the USA.” The article, apparently put together from wire reports only, read “Alert the British media! On her first day in the USA Camilla wore Italian not British wool, which could raise eyebrows back in wool-producing Britain, where royals are supposed to promote British products”, while the Washington Post’s headline boldly declared, “They Came, They Saw, They Nodded – The Royals’ Sedate Day in New York.”Of course all of this seems bizarre when we compare this behaviour with the adulation displayed for the late Princess Diana. At times during her short life their love for our fallen Princess seemed more steadfast than British support for her, and their grief in the aftermath of her death easily rivals ours.What we have to remember is that, no matter how hard they try, the Prince and Duchess will always be forced into a comparison with Diana, even if it is one implicit and subconscious. Diana was seen as the quintessential model of the charitable, graceful and beautiful: qualities that we would be hard pressed to bestow upon Camilla, no matter how hard we try. Diana’s appeal was always that she had been someway aggrieved – the drama of her divorce, her depression, bulimia and personal life was something she played up to the media continuously, which made her exciting and glamorous.In fact she was as much an A-list celebrity as an aggrieved member of the royal family.Camilla, on the other hand, will never have such pizzazz – the nearest she will get to a tabloid scandal (now that the wedding is over, at least) is wearing the Queen’s tiara. The Americanshave it built in their psyche that, for some reason, English royalty equates to everything that the likes of Diana and Sarah Ferguson embodied. But the truth is very different.The likelihood is that Camilla’s slow inauguration into public life is a publicity fuelled endeavour, aiming to portray her as amiable, friendly and inoffensive. While Clarence House is calculating the couple’s every move with supposed precision, America’s a hard market to crack, and anyone hoping for glistening reviews will have to work at it.ARCHIVE: 4th week MT 2005

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