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  #61  
Old 04-22-2022, 09:06 AM
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The issue never came up of Camilla's becoming Charles' bride. I doubt if he raised it with the RF, because he was rather young to marry at the time of their affair... but there was a general feeling, (NOT a law of any kind) that the Kings wife would be a woman without a past, who would not have lovers who might tattle to the press - just as there was a feeling that it would be very embarrassing if for example a nude picture of said girlfriend turned up...
Koo Stark's semi nude acting scenes were a bit of a strike against her, some few years later and she wasnt dating the future King.
But this is all in the realms of unspoken feelings and conventions so there is not likely to be a quote from the queen saying "No, I've told Charles that he
has to marry a virgin."
Mountbatten DID write to Charles ssaying something like that a man like him should have his fun, date a lot of women and gain experinece before settling down and that then he should pick some nice girl of good character who had had no experiences.
It wasn't at the time all that unsual advice, that it was Ok and desirable for a man to gain pre marital experience but if a woman did it, she was a bit of a floozy. However as the 1970s progressed, the Pill and social changes meant that more and more girls were living openly with boyfriends, having a varied pre marital sex life, etc..so it was getting more and more unlikely that Charles would find a girl near his own age who did not have a sexual past. .
When in the 1980s Andrew was seeing Sarah, I have read somewehre that teh RF felt that her past of having had a well known affair with Paddy McNally would not count against her as by then, nearly all girls in their 20s had had affairs
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  #62  
Old 04-22-2022, 09:17 AM
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There's no rule about "equal" marriages. Queen Victoria is known to have thought that the idea of morganatic marriages was silly, and to have had no problem at all with her descendants marrying Battenbergs or Tecks. Queen Mary was "only" a morganatic royal - although admittedly a morganatic princess ranks way ahead of a plain Miss.

I wasn't born in 1970, but I don't think there was ever that much press coverage of Camilla Shand. In the 1980s, people used to say that Davina Sheffield was the one whom Charles really wanted - which we now know isn't true. I don't think the Charles-Camilla romance was high profile enough for people to have much of an opinion about it at all.

There's no virginity requirement, but it's only become an issue in recent years. Before the Second World War, most women did not get that intimate with a boyfriend unless it was understood that they would eventually marry - if only because the lack of reliable contraception made the risk too great.
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  #63  
Old 04-22-2022, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Alison H View Post
Th

I wasn't born in 1970, but I don't think there was ever that much press coverage of Camilla Shand. In the 1980s, people used to say that Davina Sheffield was the one whom Charles really wanted - which we now know isn't true. I don't think the Charles-Camilla romance was high profile enough for people to have much of an opinion about it at all.

There's no virginity requirement, but it's only become an issue in recent years. Before the Second World War, most women did not get that intimate with a boyfriend unless it was understood that they would eventually marry - if only because the lack of reliable contraception made the risk too great.
I think that is kind of true but over teh 70s I think it was leaking out that Charles was still very good friends with Camilla, in spite of her marriage to Andrew.. that he still spent time with her and she was somone he turned to for advice. I think that the hints were there that they were more than just good friends. But Charles did have a lot of girlfirends and I dont know if any one of them was considered by the Press to be the special one. he hismelf said that he fell in love easily and I think that while he had a special feeling for Camilla, he was dating and having fun and falling in love in a light hearted way with other girls.
I think that Charles was the first POW who was born in the age where increasingly, girls would be non virgins' when they married. I htink that back in the 30s or 40s, sophisticated young women might have sexual relationships but not fully consummated ones because of the risk of pregnancy.. Then in the 60s the Pill came along and bit by bit, it changed things.
Re the issue of equal marriages, certainly by the 1920s, George V had made it clear that he was fine with his childrne marrying into the aristocracy rather than the "German princes" and princesses that were usually considered as suitable parnters. The Germans had been knocked out of the running because their monarchy had been forced to abdicate and they were pretty unpopular anyway as the enemies in the War. I dont think he expected Edward VIII to marry a fellow royal, he would be content with a suitable upper class English or Scottish woman. so Bertie and Henry D of GLoucester both married aristocrats and George D of Kent married a royal but for love...
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  #64  
Old 04-22-2022, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BriarRose View Post
I

It's never been clear to me that Charles was actually being forced to marry a virgin, beyond his uncle's misogynistic advice and attitude. I'm not even sure the RF knew in advance that Diana's father was going to alert the press about his daughter's absence of sexual partners. Or how her father would even know she was a virgin.
I think if I understand you corrreclty that you are saying that Diana's father alerted the press about his daughter's virgin status. HE did not. It was her uncle Lord Fermoy who for soem reason mentioned it at the time when Charles was courting Diana, saying that his neice had never had a lover
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  #65  
Old 04-22-2022, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
Is there a reliable source for the widespread assumption that Camilla Shand was (for one reason or another) considered controversial as a potential bride in the 1970s by either the royal family or by the British public? Or is that simply an assumption made by commentators?

Apparently, Patricia Countess Mountbatten thought Camilla’s past was an issue. Gyles Brandreth interviewed the Countess and her husband Lord Brabourne for his book, Charles and Camilla: Portrait of a Marriage (2005). When asked if Charles should have proposed to Camilla in 1974, the Countess responded: “No, it wouldn’t have been possible, not then. Camilla had a “history” – and you didn’t want a past that hung about” (p. 194). But she also added “and she was a subject. And nobody marries a subject.” I find that last statement very puzzling considering that marriage to a subject was by no means a barrier, which IMO makes her first statement suspect as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Denville View Post
Mountbatten DID write to Charles ssaying something like that a man like him should have his fun, date a lot of women and gain experinece before settling down and that then he should pick some nice girl of good character who had had no experiences.
Brandreth quotes Mountbatten’s letter: “I believe, in cases like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down but for wife he should choose a suitable, attractive and sweet-charactered girl before she met anyone else she might fall for…I think it is disturbing for women to have experience if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage” (p. 166).


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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
I think that Charles was the first POW who was born in the age where increasingly, girls would be non virgins' when they married. I htink that back in the 30s or 40s, sophisticated young women might have sexual relationships but not fully consummated ones because of the risk of pregnancy. Then in the 60s the Pill came along and bit by bit, it changed things.
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
I agree, but it did happen that at least one boyfriend talked to the papers so I think that because of hte fear of that, Charles and the RF were wary if a girl was known within his own circles to have had a lot of partners.
Exactly, Charles was sailing in uncharted waters. Unlike his predecessors he couldn’t assume that a woman who caught his interest was a virgin, and it was impossible to know how the public would react to a future queen with a “past.” Brandreth seems to think it was a deal breaker. When the press tracked down the former fiance of Charles’s then girlfriend Davina Sheffield in 1976, the poor man was pressed into revealing that the two had shared a cottage together where they had enjoyed a “full sexual relationship.” According to Brandreth, the interview "sealed [her] fate," but he doesn’t provide a source, so perhaps this was an assumption on his part (p. 194). Maybe Davina resented the intrusion into her private life and ended the relationship herself. But at the time the gossip columnists certainly believed the interview eliminated her as a future queen, while one journalist wrote about the hypocrisy of the double standard (see Marje Proopes, “The Royal [Double] Standard,” The Daily Mirror, October 6, 1976, p. 7).

I suppose it’s possible that while there wasn’t any stated prohibition against marrying a woman with a sexual history, Charles knew full well that some old-fashioned courtiers, members of the BRF as well as the public preferred he choose a virgin (including his mentor Lord Mountbatten) so he went went along with that. But that's only speculation on my part.

Brandreth also states that Charles proposed to Mountbatten’s granddaughter Amanda Knatchball in August 1979 (just a few weeks before Mountbatten was killed), but she said no. Charles accepted her answer “immediately” and said he “wasn’t at all surprised.” When Brandreth asked Countess Mountbatten why her daughter had turned Charles down, she responded “no spark” (pp. 201-202).
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  #66  
Old 04-22-2022, 07:32 PM
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Thank you very much, Gawin. Your citation of sources is exemplary and the effort you put into clarifying the facts of the matters discussed is always greatly appreciated.

And thank you to Denville as well for the in-depth explanation of the British social climate surrounding the royal family in the 1970s/80s.
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  #67  
Old 04-22-2022, 07:59 PM
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I remember Lady Jane Wellesley being pushed by the Press at one point, presumably because she was a Duke’s daughter and her parents knew the Royals socially, had entertained and hosted the Queen and Prince Philip and the QM at various stages in this reign.

However, it appears that Jane was uninterested in marriage and preferred a career. This was another ‘problem’ the traditionalists among courtiers and observers faced during Charles’s long bachelorhood; whereas even fifty years before many aristocratic families would have been ecstatic at their daughters marrying into the royal family, by the last years of the 1970s quite a few of these girls had other ideas, and being chained up in the gilded cage with the prospect of being a future Queen wasn’t one of them!
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  #68  
Old 04-22-2022, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Gawin View Post
Apparently, Patricia Countess Mountbatten thought Camilla’s past was an issue. Gyles Brandreth interviewed the Countess and her husband Lord Brabourne for his book, Charles and Camilla: Portrait of a Marriage (2005). When asked if Charles should have proposed to Camilla in 1974, the Countess responded: “No, it wouldn’t have been possible, not then. Camilla had a “history” – and you didn’t want a past that hung about” (p. 194). But she also added “and she was a subject. And nobody marries a subject.”
That is a very odd statement. All citizens of the United Kingdom other than tthe Queen were British "subjects" in the 1970s, including the Prince of Wales himself and of course the Queen Mother and the Duke of Edinburgh (once he was naturalized in the UK).

Charles could only marry a "non-subject" if she married a foreign woman. Is that what the Countess Mountbatten implied that he should do? Or was she implying that the Prince of Wales should marry a foreign princess specifically? Honestly I don't understand what she meant.
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  #69  
Old 04-22-2022, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
That is a very odd statement. All citizens of the United Kingdom other than tthe Queen were British "subjects" in the 1970s, including the Prince of Wales himself and of course the Queen Mother and the Duke of Edinburgh (once he was naturalized in the UK).

Charles could only marry a "non-subject" if she married a foreign woman. Is that what the Countess Mountbatten implied that he should do? Or was she implying that the Prince of Wales should marry a foreign princess specifically? Honestly I don't understand what she meant.

I'm puzzled by it too. I think it was assumed that Charles would chose a wife from the British aristocracy rather than a foreign princess, just as his grandfather had done, which would have been completely acceptable to both the BRF and the public. In fact, some courtiers and members of the BRF wanted his mother to marry a British aristocrat rather than the foreign prince she chose instead. That attitude undoubtedly rankled the Mountbattens who were already looked on with suspicion by other members of the aristocracy. Perhaps the Countess's statement was her way of turning the tables. All armchair psychology on my part.
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  #70  
Old 04-22-2022, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
I remember Lady Jane Wellesley being pushed by the Press at one point, presumably because she was a Duke’s daughter and her parents knew the Royals socially, had entertained and hosted the Queen and Prince Philip and the QM at various stages in this reign.

However, it appears that Jane was uninterested in marriage and preferred a career. This was another ‘problem’ the traditionalists among courtiers and observers faced during Charles’s long bachelorhood; whereas even fifty years before many aristocratic families would have been ecstatic at their daughters marrying into the royal family, by the last years of the 1970s quite a few of these girls had other ideas, and being chained up in the gilded cage with the prospect of being a future Queen wasn’t one of them!
Wasn't she the one who said she didn't want another title because she had one already?

She has never married, and appears to have led a colourful and interesting life. Marriage to Charles would not have suited her...
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  #71  
Old 04-23-2022, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Gawin View Post
I'm puzzled by it too. I think it was assumed that Charles would chose a wife from the British aristocracy rather than a foreign princess, just as his grandfather had done, which would have been completely acceptable to both the BRF and the public. In fact, some courtiers and members of the BRF wanted his mother to marry a British aristocrat rather than the foreign prince she chose instead. That attitude undoubtedly rankled the Mountbattens who were already looked on with suspicion by other members of the aristocracy. Perhaps the Countess's statement was her way of turning the tables. All armchair psychology on my part.
It is an odd remark. the marriage to a woman with a past, yes I think that "back then" it WAS an issue.... and while not everyone would have been bothered by it, old fashioned members of the family would be and so would some of the public.. at the time. but marriage to a subject is an odd one. Im sure that George V expected his eldest son, if he married to pick a wife from the aristocracy, not a foreign princess...
I dont think that one remark being odd makes the other one about the 'sexual past" bit suspect, because I think that in the 1970s, it was an issue. There was a feeling still among many that in spite of the Pill, women weren't supposed to fool around.. and that the RF esp the Prince of W, had restrictions on them.. Charles said to newspaper men half jokingly that "he couldn't' live iwht a girl like they could, he had to get it right when he got married first time off". but a few years later many junior royals at least were living with partners before they got married.
Possibly the Mountbattens didn't see themselves as subjects, so if Charles and Amanda had hit it off, and married, it would have been felt to be marrying into another branch of the RF
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  #72  
Old 04-23-2022, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
I think if I understand you corrreclty that you are saying that Diana's father alerted the press about his daughter's virgin status. HE did not. It was her uncle Lord Fermoy who for soem reason mentioned it at the time when Charles was courting Diana, saying that his neice had never had a lover
Diana's never been linked with any other man, but how bizarre for Lord Fermoy to say that. How would he actually know? It's hardly the sort of thing a girl discusses with her uncle!
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  #73  
Old 04-23-2022, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
Possibly the Mountbattens didn't see themselves as subjects, so if Charles and Amanda had hit it off, and married, it would have been felt to be marrying into another branch of the RF
All citizens of the United Kingdom, its colonies or a Commonwealth country, including the members of the Royal Family other than the Queen, were "British subjects" under British nationality law in the 1970s. That only changed in 1983. But, as you said, Countess Mountbatten was probably using the word "subject" not in the correct legal definition of the term, but rather as a synonym of "non-royal". By implication, I agree that she probably assumed the Mountbattens were royal and that Charles should seek a royal bride.
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  #74  
Old 04-23-2022, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Alison H View Post
Diana's never been linked with any other man, but how bizarre for Lord Fermoy to say that. How would he actually know? It's hardly the sort of thing a girl discusses with her uncle!
She had had a few boyfriends in her teen years, including a brief dating time with James Gilbey. however her uncle was an eccentric man and probably thought that he was boosting his nieces chances of securing a royal husband, if he mentioned that she had never had a lover. It was discussed during the courtship in the media.. that this time Charles seemed to have a girlfriend who was utterly perfect, she was pretty, sweet, from a courtly aristocratic family, who knew the RF well, She was a Protestant and she was young enough to be almost certainly a virgin... People were very excited (well the press was) that Charles who was now over 30 and at the age when he had said he would probalby marry, now had this girlfriend who ticked all the boxes. So I suppose that Fermoy thought that since it looked like Charles was seriously considering getting married, and the public seemed to love Diana, it would be a good idea to remind the public that his neiece was absolutely perfect, because she had no past.
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  #75  
Old 04-23-2022, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
All citizens of the United Kingdom, its colonies or a Commonwealth country, including the members of the Royal Family other than the Queen, were "British subjects" under British nationality law in the 1970s. That only changed in 1983. But, as you said, Countess Mountbatten was probably using the word "subject" not in the correct legal definition of the term, but rather as a synonym of "non-royal". By implication, I agree that she probably assumed the Mountbattens were royal and that Charles should seek a royal bride.
well obviously Lady M didn't think of herself as a subject but as a member of the RF, a cousin of Philips etc. She may have felt that an untitled woman like Camilla, with a past to boot, wasn't' quite right for the future King.. After all the 2 brohters of Edward VIII who married into the aristocracy chose the daughters of peers and and not Miss Mary Snibsby Snobsy
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  #76  
Old 04-23-2022, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
well obviously Lady M didn't think of herself as a subject but as a member of the RF, a cousin of Philips etc. She may have felt that an untitled woman like Camilla, with a past to boot, wasn't' quite right for the future King.. After all the 2 brohters of Edward VIII who married into the aristocracy chose the daughters of peers and and not Miss Mary Snibsby Snobsy
I suppose the definition of royal varies a lot depending on the criteria you use. The Mountbattens descended in male line from a morganatic branch of a German grand ducal house (therefore not royal by German standards), but they also belonged to a female collateral line of the British Royal Family as descendants (again in maternal line) of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom. Lady Louise Mountbatten's marriage to Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf was considered an "equal" marriage under the terms of the (then unamended) Swedish Act of Succession (or else Gustaf Adolf would have forefeited his succession rights to the Swedish throne), so I suppose it is fair to say that the Mountbattens were considered "royal enough".

Male or female line doesn't seem to be a major issue now in countries that adopted equal primogeniture, but I am not sympathetic to the idea that everybody in a line of succession should be automatically considered "royal" especially when they don't carry royal titles properly (like prince/princess). Are we supposed to consider all descendants for example of Princess Mary, Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, or Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie royals in perpetuity over all generations? Or even the collateral descendants in paternal line of King George V like the Gloucesters and the Kents beyond the present generation? Where does one draw a line between royal and non-royal?
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  #77  
Old 04-23-2022, 01:05 PM
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The TV series Who Do You Think You Are famously found out that working-class Cockney actor Danny Dyer was descended from Edward III. Given how many children Edward III had, millions of people must be descended from him by now. Where do you draw the line?!

If Charles had wanted to marry an untitled upper-class woman, or even a middle-class woman, and they'd genuinely been in love and there'd been no objections to her, I don't think anyone would have objected on the grounds of class. Even the Spencers weren't perfect: the fact that Diana's parents were divorced would have made them socially unacceptable 20 years earlier.

Harald and Sonja of Norway are possibly an example to which the Queen would have looked. Norway's a more liberal country than the UK in terms of class, but there were strong objections to that marriage. But Harald insisted on marrying Sonja. And, as it's turned out, Sonja has been an excellent princess and queen.
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  #78  
Old 04-23-2022, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
I suppose the definition of royal varies a lot depending on the criteria you use. The Mountbattens descended in male line from a morganatic branch of a German grand ducal house (therefore not royal by German standards), but they also belonged to a female collateral line of the British Royal Family as descendants (again in maternal line) of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom. Lady Louise Mountbatten's marriage to Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf was considered an "equal" marriage under the terms of the (then unamended) Swedish Act of Succession (or else Gustaf Adolf would have forefeited his succession rights to the Swedish throne), so I suppose it is fair to say that the Mountbattens were considered "royal enough".

Male or female line doesn't seem to be a major issue now in countries that adopted equal primogeniture, but I am not sympathetic to the idea that everybody in a line of succession should be automatically considered "royal" especially when they don't carry royal titles properly (like prince/princess). Are we supposed to consider all descendants for example of Princess Mary, Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, or Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie royals in perpetuity over all generations? Or even the collateral descendants in paternal line of King George V like the Gloucesters and the Kents beyond the present generation? Where does one draw a line between royal and non-royal?
This is what I find bizarre. A titled person isn't royal. In this case, the Mountbattens. Camilla is the same ranking as a title/nobility.
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  #79  
Old 04-23-2022, 02:54 PM
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There's a distinction between the aristocracy, who are titled, and the gentry, who are upper class but not titled. Both are distinct from the middle classes. Jane Austen's characters are nearly all gentry, for example: they are upper class but not titled. Someone like Mr Darcy, who is gentry, is below the aristocracy but is in a very different social class to someone like Mr Gardiner, who is in trade, or Mr Collins, who is a clergyman.

Camilla is gentry. Diana was aristocracy. The Mountbattens, even if not classed as royal, are aristocracy. It's not the same thing.

Mr Collins was a clergyman, and Mr Philips (Mrs Bennet's brother-in-law) was a lawyer, so they belonged to the professional middle classes. So they were above Mr Gardiner, who was in trade. A skilled working class person was above an unskilled working class person. A lady's maid was above a kitchen maid. There were/are a lot of hierarchies!

But there still is a definite distinction between aristocracy and gentry. Princess Marina, the Dowager Duchess of Kent, opposed her son, the Duke of Kent's, marriage, because Katharine Worsley's family were gentry, not aristocracy. Her father was a baronet and they lived in a stately home, but they were not aristocracy. If she'd been Lady Katharine Worsley instead of Miss Katharine Worsley, Princess Marina presumably wouldn't have minded.
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  #80  
Old 04-23-2022, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Alison H View Post
There's a distinction between the aristocracy, who are titled, and the gentry, who are upper class but not titled. Both are distinct from the middle classes. Jane Austen's characters are nearly all gentry, for example: they are upper class but not titled. Someone like Mr Darcy, who is gentry, is below the aristocracy but is in a very different social class to someone like Mr Gardiner, who is in trade, or Mr Collins, who is a clergyman.

Camilla is gentry. Diana was aristocracy. The Mountbattens, even if not classed as royal, are aristocracy. It's not the same thing.
Beautifully summarized, thank you :)

Camilla is definitely gentry, but still very much a member of the upper class. I am not titled either, but I am *miles* below Camilla in social terms, being just a regular middle-class girl from the 'provinces'. I would never be comfortable moving in her social circle. Nor would I ever want to, but that's another topic altogether
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