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Love triangles

Books | September Issue

The Duchess: The Untold Story by Penny Junor

In the 1970s, Lord Mountbatten advised Prince Charles that he ‘should sow his wild oats and have as many a airs as he can before settling down, but for a wife he should choose a suitably attractive and sweet-charactered girl, before she met anyone else she might fall for.’ By the end of that decade, Prince Charles was running out of options and time. As Junor says, ‘more than a decade after the advent of the contraceptive pill and the era of free love, the pool of unmarried, aristocratic, Anglican virgins available was diminishing by the day.’ In 1972, Charles was in love with Camilla, but Mountbatten made it ‘abundantly clear that this relationship could never go anywhere in the long term. Camilla was not sufficiently aristocratic... and she was not a virgin, which was a prerequisite.’ In the late 1970s, he got to know Diana, an unimpeachably aristocratic, Anglican virgin...

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