PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Has the Prince of Petulance come of age at last?

By Amanda Platell


Yes, I admit it. I have been one of Prince Charles's many critics. But pictures of him and Camilla on tour in India show how much he's grown into the roles of heir apparent and loving husband.

Increasingly we see a man with warmth, good humour and contentment - characteristics that were  never much in evidence when he was with Diana.

Back then, he was jealous, intemperate, petulant and, frankly, hard for anyone to love, let alone respect.

Happy: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose outside the Akshardham Temple during day 3 of an official visit to India earlier this month. Camilla has brought out the best in her husband

Happy: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose outside the Akshardham Temple during day 3 of an official visit to India earlier this month. Camilla has brought out the best in her husband

The contrast between Charles then and now are all the more apparent as it was in India 21 years ago that Diana announced to the world how lonely and miserable she was by posing alone, so calculatingly, in front of the Taj Mahal.

They separated later that year, with the vast majority taking Diana's side in the subsequent 'War of the Waleses' - and Camilla cast as wicked mistress.

That must have been enough to put a strain on any relationship. Yet from the moment Charles and Diana separated, he made it clear Camilla was  'non-negotiable'.

He was determined his future was with her - no matter how strongly the public (or his parents) opposed it.

Many regarded it as just another example of his spoilt intransigence. But the couple have proved their critics wrong.

It is not just that Camilla so obviously makes him happy. More importantly, she makes him a better man. She has brought out the best in him.


Representing the Queen at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting for the first time, he stepped up to the mark, carrying out his duties with the poise and unaffected charm that has endeared his mother to the Commonwealth throughout her 60 years on the throne.

In return, the crowds cheered him, one woman on a balcony serenading him with Happy Birthday as he walked by. He threw her a rose.

I, for one, do not believe he could have accomplished that without Camilla by his side, never seeking the limelight but not afraid to bring him down a peg with a little joke if he errs towards pomposity.

In that role, she has accomplished something Diana never could: she has made our future King happy and comfortable in his own skin.

A pilot scheme is giving new mothers in poor areas a £200 bribe to breastfeed for six months. But how would they police it to make sure mums were not just grabbing the cash? A new breast squad, perhaps? ‘Halt right there, madam! We have reason to believe you are in possession of an unlawful bottle of formula.’

Festive tips from Pippa Middleton include keeping lots of champagne in the fridge as ‘it will guarantee you, your friends and family a merry, merry time’. So speaks a girl who’s never found herself at the wrong end of an un-defrosted turkey with 14 guests to feed, an oven on the blink and a bottle of last year’s cooking sherry as the only defence against hysterics.

Bizarre: Simon Cowell (right) is not allowed to see his girlfriend Lauren Silverman's (left) seven-year-old son, Adam, for a year

Bizarre: Simon Cowell (right) is not allowed to see his girlfriend Lauren Silverman's (left) seven-year-old son, Adam, for a year

Simon Cowell’s pregnant girlfriend, Lauren Silverman, has agreed a bizarre divorce deal with her ex-husband that stipulates Cowell is not allowed to see her seven-year-old son, Adam, for a year.  If he does, Lauren will be fined £31,000 and after three contraventions she herself will be denied all access to her child. In practice, that means she and Cowell will either have to live separately or she will not be able to live with her son. What kind of father tries to separate a mother from her child — and, moreover, what kind of mother accepts such cruelty?

Lily and Posh aren’t racist, it’s mob hysteria

A few weeks ago Naomi Campbell launched an international campaign naming and shaming designers for not using enough black models on the catwalk.

Victoria Beckham, among others, was accused. Now the singer Lily Allen has prompted a Twitter firestorm after her latest video, intended as a satirical poke at the prurient, sexually degrading Miley Cyruses of this world, showed her surrounded by mostly black women gyrating in skimpy outfits.

Heaven knows, the fashion and pop worlds are rife with all kinds of injustice and inequality, but I do not believe Posh or Lily have a racist bone in their bodies.

One thing’s for sure: this sort of mob hysteria on social media will help no one, whatever their skin colour.

Reticence: Sergeant Horace Stokes had served as an SAS soldier during the Second World War and had never spoke of his wartime experiences to his three children

Reticence: Sergeant Horace Stokes had served as an SAS soldier during the Second World War and had never spoke of his wartime experiences to his three children

Very private heroes

It was only on his deathbed that Horace Stokes confessed to his children that, far from being just a humble greengrocer, he was a founder of the SAS who had fought the Nazis behind enemy lines and escaped from two PoW camps.

But then his generation, many of whom witnessed horrors that we today can scarcely imagine, believed in reticence and chose to keep their heroism and their nightmares to themselves.

My own grandfather was in the Middle East during the war, but we were always told that he never saw battle. After his death, we learnt that the gentle man we called Pop had in fact been Regimental Sergeant Major Platell, MBE, an intelligence officer based in Alexandria.

Men like him didn’t seek public acclaim. For them, peace — and the fact they had survived — were their own reward.

Oh what a contrast to our own emoting, fame-obsessed age when a man like David Beckham can expect a knighthood for knocking a football about and posing in his underpants.

Westminster noticeboard

  • The British people donated £23 million in 48 hours to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The Government also gave £20 million. How much happier this kind and generous nation would be if the £10 billion foreign aid budget, doled out to corrupt oil-rich countries, was instead used to help the destitute children of the Philippines.
  • Red Ed is to appear on Desert Island Discs. What’s the betting Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms isn’t on his list.
  • How clever of David Cameron not to attack but embrace whinge-bag John Major after his comments that social mobility has gone into reverse. The more Major whines on about the class system, the more we are reminded of what a useless PM he was. Given the choice between a bright toff or a Brixton-born dimwit like Major, I know which I’d choose.
  • In the first of two lectures at Cambridge University, Alastair Campbell accused the media of ‘bullying, intimidation and lies’. A bit rich coming from the rottweiler who gave us the lies of the Dodgy Dossier and helped bully Dr David Kelly to death.
Sophie Raworth has no horticultural experience

Sophie Raworth has no horticultural experience

Sophie's in for a dig

How disappointing that Alan Titchmarsh has been weeded out of the BBC’s Chelsea Flower Show coverage. He will be replaced on BBC1 by Sophie Raworth, left, who has no horticultural experience.

In her defence, Sophie explains her parents are keen gardeners. So? My parents love tennis, but it doesn’t qualify me to take over from Sue Barker in the Wimbledon commentary box.

Hacked off? Just remember this

The parents of the beautiful but deeply troubled deputy head girl who went missing this week have thanked the Daily Mail for helping to find her.

A reader had seen Ella Hysom’s  picture in our newspaper and spotted her in the street. Fragile daughter and distraught parents were happily reunited.

Perhaps the venomous members of Hacked Off might remember this the next time they attack the Press.

Paul McCartney has written to Vladimir Putin pleading with him to free the Greenpeace protesters Russia has banged up for boarding an oil platform. As if the hard man of Russia will take any notice of a dope-smoking, tofu-munching Scouser with badly dyed hair and a voice that — sorry to say — is an insult to The Beatles’ memory. On the other hand, if Macca promises to stop singing . . .

The father of Hamzah Khan, who was starved to death, has spoken out. Aftab Khan, also father of the child’s seven siblings, says: ‘I should have done more. I should have done everything, but why should I look like the evil one?’ Perhaps because he had a prevention order on him after a history of  violence against his wife . . . and did nothing that could have saved Hamzah, despite knowing the mother was an abusive alcoholic high on drugs and living in squalor.

Scientists have spent years scouring the Earth to find the oldest complete fossil. What a waste of time! All they had to do was tune in to Strictly Come Dancing and they’d have found Brucie in seconds.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Usual snide comments from Ms Platell !

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Diana was a serial adulterer, was with her latest lover when she died so don't paint her as a saint. So sick of Charles & Camilla being blackened by the Diana lovers.

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Oh please, doesn't matter how you word it, it was wrong then and wrong now. He should never be king

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'Prince of Petulance" accuses the "Princess of Spin". Pfft

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Proper Charly & hopefully will never be crowned a non event

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You seem to be a REALLY POOR JUDGE of people.Paul Mcartney and Prince (Never a King) Charles have plenty in common Both have Big Ears and a very poor taste in Women.

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You can NEVER make a man happy if he doesn't love you. If he is forced to marry you. Diana didn't stand a chance.

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Seems the India Holiday is smiles all round. Where next Charlie Boy?

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Knocking Major is a bit rich. He actually won an election and was PM for rather longer than your mate Dave, who couldn't .manage a working majority against the worst Labour PM in history. Cameron shows every chance of dropping the ball in 2015, with the likelihood that Clegg, lacking any semblance of integrity, spine or indeed intelligence, is likely to throw in his lot with Labour.

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I speak for many right minded people, unlike the simpering forelock tuggers we do not wish Charles well.

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