The marriage of Charles and Camilla has some striking similarities to the story of Anne Boleyn, and her public perception.
~ Like Anne Boleyn, Camilla was the “other woman” luring the (future) king away from a princess who was beloved by the public.
~ Camilla is not conventionally beautiful, and her appearance has been mocked in the press. People could not understand what Henry saw in Anne Boleyn, either, because she was not beautiful by the standards of the era.
~ Camilla is a mere gentlewoman, as Anne was, rising above her station to capture the heart of a king. Marrying for such an ephemeral reason as “love” has always been suspect in royal circles.
~ Both women were blamed for the ill-treatment of their predecessors.
~ In both cases, the ex-wife clung to her old title, Diana keeping the title of “Princess” and Katharine refusing to surrender the title of Queen. In both cases, the public supported this usage.
~ Both women were the “scandal of Christendom.” Camilla is divorced; Anne had been pre-contracted, requiring a dispensation.
~ Both were the king’s “mistress” (though Anne refused to sleep with the king until they were lawfully wed.)
~ Both were called ugly names disparaging their chastity.
~ Camilla, like Anne, has fought an uphill battle to be recognized as her husband’s lawful consort. However graciously or charitably she behaves, there are many who will never accept nor “forgive” Camilla for usurping Diana’s place. Women were recorded as hating Anne, the “goggle-eyed whore” who made a mockery of the sacred vows of marriage.
~ The prince’s “love letters” (phone calls) to Camilla were made public in order to humiliate them. The public salivated and snickered over their playful talk the same way they must have snickered over Henry wishing to kiss Anne’s “pretty dukkys.”
~ The prince’s wedding to Camilla was low-key in contrast to the lavish spectacle of his wedding to Diana, the same as with Henry VIII.
~ Both of the ex-wives died not long after their divorce. In both cases, the surviving royals were criticized for not being respectful enough of the deceased. People still leave pomegranates on Katharine’s tomb, and visit the estate where Diana is buried.
Fortunately, Charles already has his “heir and a spare” and doesn’t seem to be the head-chopping type. Camilla has a chance Anne Boleyn never had - to slowly win the public over and grow into her role as consort. Whether she will ever be the Queen of England remains to be seen, but it seems public perception of her is softening as time passes. Anne had only a scant three years. Her reign is mostly known from the “tabloids” of her day, and so we may never have a clear picture of what she was really like, and what she could have become had she survived Henry’s obsession.