Oh dear. Word on the blog street is that the Bush White House has snubbed Prince Charlie and his intended by "banning" Mrs. Parker-Bowles from the White House, because she's a "dee-vorc-ee". (Synonymous with "Newt Gingrich" and "Ronald Reagan".)
Much as I'm willing to believe the Bush administration is capable of egregious nonsense, this story amounts to little more than rubbish.
First of all, this was reported in the Daily Mirror--need I say more? Yes? Okay. Not a single reputable newspaper has reported this, nor has it been on TV--and I've been watching (that Beckham baby sure is cute!). Just to be sure, I searched the Sky website. Nada. On the other hand, yesterday it was all over Sky how a former staff member is suing over the employment practices of Clarence House (code name for Prince Charles' official offices). Seems Elaine Day had to sleep two floors above the prince, with the lesser servants, and her boss (not the Prince) kept touching her on the back. (She's going to give frivolous lawsuits a bad name!) She was happy to pose for cameras, so we got to see lots of her yesterday.
Second, there's not even a date set for the prince's State Visit to Washington--why on earth would the Bush White House risk ridicule and "ban" Camilla for an event which isn't even on the calendar? It's not likely to happen before the fall, and 2006 looks more promising, my secret sources tell me.
The Mirror claims this was done for "PR reasons." I'm still in denial, but wasn't George Bush reelected? He's now officially a lame duck, which means he doesn't have to worry about PR. He can feel free to piss off the evangelicals who elected him. (Now, if Mrs. Parker-Bowles was a gay prostitute--oh wait. No worries, as the Brits say.)
And yes, I know, Princess Diana was loved in the U.S., but most Americans could care less about her sad history and her lousy marriage--it's been seven years, for cripes' sake. We've gone on, found new bulimic icons.
Most rumors, however, have SOME basis in fact, and in this one I smell a grain of truth. (Smells like Bounce dryer sheets.) Official State Visits, as opposed to merely popping by for drinks, are ornate occasions, strictly controlled by protocol. The rules are archaic, designed to keep society from upending and possibly the world from exploding in a ball of fire. Girlfriends aren't invited. Spouses are. (An interesting factoid reported by D.C. columnists: The guest lists for the four Bush State Dinners include more wives who share their husband's last name than did the Clinton guest lists.) And let me plug Sen. Clinton's book here: "An Invitation to the White House" contains a fascinating account of an actual State Dinner, for Vaclav Havel and Mrs. Havlova.
So, move on folks, there's no story here.
But if you really want one--and I think I know my readers' tastes--here's a scoop: Prince Harry is engaged to Jenna Bush. Yes, you heard it here first:
Sir Michael Peat-Moss, Chief Principal Aide to Prince Charles, made the announcement at a press conference at Clarence House today. He said that Prince Charles and President Bush had discussed the possibility of marriage between their offspring during Mr Bush's State Visit to the UK in 2003 but neither of them had followed up on it until recently. However, following an initiative by Prince Charles, it had been decided to proceed, and the president had offered the hand of Jenna. Ms Parker Bowles is understood to be delighted.
Now THIS is a story with legs.