London. December 9th 2013. I stood in front of an old curiosity shop window in a Covent Garden lane. I was killing time, waiting for London Graphic Centre to open at 10 so I could buy pencils. The centrepiece of the window display grabbed my attention.
A lone Christmas card “To You Both” stood on a stand which was covered in “Alice in Wonderland” paper. The card would have been approximately 30 years old. It was a photograph of Prince Charles, Princess Diana and their new baby, William. The printed message was “With all Good Wishes for Christmas and the New Year”. The card was signed by Charles and Diana. Probably a secretary had hand-written the other five words…”to you both”, “from” and “and”. Charles and Diana had only to sign their names; both chose to underline them.
Looking at that card made me feel melancholy. I stared at the youthful royal faces smiling back at me. Was it all show even then…putting on public faces for a private Christmas card? How did this private correspondence become public? I wanted to know the life of the card itself; how to you both became a display for ALL OF US. What secrets do you keep, Card?
Remember reading about princes and princesses in fairy tales? Many of them ended with “and they lived happily ever after”. Many of us thought that Charles and Diana were cast in a fairy tale back then. Youth, beauty, wealth, royalty, celebrity…they look enchanting to be sure. History has told a sadder story. Now we ask – how could we have been so silly?
Just this week I heard that William (the baby in the photo; now grown up), Kate and baby George, are coming to Australasia next month. They will be visiting Wellington, Sydney and Canberra. Imagine the magazines, tv channels and newspapers going into overdrive! They are probably having emergency meetings right now about the impending visit.
William and Kate are a real prince and princess of today; they really ARE a fairy tale. They are in love and will live happily ever after…. Won’t they?
Below are four photos I took of Charles and Di in 1986 at a polo match, Windsor. Diana looks haunted now – but that is with the wisdom of hindsight.
When we see the photos and footage of Kate and William next month from Australia and New Zealand, let us hope that they really are enjoying themselves. To You Both!
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