Monday, October 22, 2012


I turned the last page of Lady Colin Campbell's thick volume on "The Queen Mother" and sat, musing.

According to Campbell, the  Queen Mother was justly famous for her totally winning charm, but her charm was expended only to either put her in the spotlight or get her something she wanted.  She was said to be horribly catty and would typically praise the person to their face and then, well behind their back, make insulting remarks about that person.

Such duplicity is hardly rare in the World of Women, but Campbell claims that the Queen Mother's vivid hatred of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, was merely disguised jealousy because, back in the day, she wanted to marry David - who spurned her nicely - and had to settle instead for Bertie.  

The Queen Mother earned the nickname "The Other Lady MacBeth" for her behind-the-scenes maneuvering and slyness.  She is said to have deliberately cultivated her grandson, Charles, while basically ignoring daughter Margaret's dilemmas about whether or not to marry Townsend.  The Queen Mother told her, essentially, "Get over it." 

The Queen Mum absolutely insisted on getting her own way and frequently observed, "I am never wrong."  She did lead poor Bertie quite a dance and, in fact, may have been the de facto King of England, since he never made a decision without her input. 

Campbell alleges that the Queen Mum disliked the intimacy of marriage and that both daughters came to be via artificial insemination. 

On the other hand, Lady Campbell herself is something of a poseur in that she came from a part Lebanese-part Russian family in Jamaica; suffered from sort of physical sexual confusion until she was 18 and got surgical treatment.  The first years of her life she was considered and treated as a male. 

She married Ian Campbell, the 11th Duke of Argyll, which gave her the title "Lady Colin Cmpbell" in 1974.  She divorced him 14 months later in 1975.   And for 37 years has styled herself as "Lady Colin Campbell."  Frankly that seems a little tacky since she claims to have despised him.

Ah, these Royals and wanna-bes with their didoes.  An interesting read if you can get past Lady Campbell's preachy, teachy "voice." 

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