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Interview With Alison Holloway

Aired June 2, 2003 - 19:46   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Back in 1953, Queen Elizabeth's coronation was a very big deal indeed, as the nation struggled to recover from World War II. These days, sometimes seems like the country is in better shape than the monarchy. Of course, any good party deserves some serious dishing afterwards.
Here to help is freelance journalist Alison Holloway, a former Sky-TV anchor who has reported on the royal family. Alison, thanks for being with us.

First of all, much was made of the fact that Camilla Parker Bowles was invited to the party. Let's talk about that a little bit. How significant and why?

ALISON HOLLOWAY, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Yes, I wonder if she was wearing daffodil yellow like the queen. I think not.

It is significant. She was invited. The personal invitation of the queen. Camilla, there she is, looking lovely. I wonder how many more wrinkles she has to have on her face before she can actually become Prince Charles' partner for real. Poor lady, it seems like she's always waiting in the wings. She really is the lady in waiting. But it's very significant she was there today. It was low key.

COOPER: All the waiting has really paid off for her. Ten years ago you never would have expected -- perhaps five years ago, even, you would never have expected this kind of embrace from the royal family.

HOLLOWAY: I think times have changed. They've had to change. I mean, the queen has weathered so many scandals. They can't keep Camilla out indefinitely. Mind you, I think they'll both be about 70 years old by the time they get married.

I think they will get married. They should have gotten married all those years ago, when they were first dating, but of course royal protocols say that Charles had to marry a virgin, and, of course, Camilla wasn't it. She'd been around the block a few times.

COOPER: Good lord! What are you saying? What you implying?

HOLLOWAY: What did you say?

COOPER: I was just joking. I said, goodness, what you implying. You said she'd been around the block a few times.

I understand that this celebration is actually a lot smaller than the jubilee celebrations last year.

HOLLOWAY: Yes. I think it had to be low key. I think the royal family's mindful of the troubled times that we're in. I think a lavish event would have seemed a little extravagant in the eyes of the British public. The monarchy has to gain popularity, not let it slacken off.

It's difficult to know really quite what to do, I think, for the royals. They're in such troubled times. I think really if their popularity had waned, they would have been out the door by now. I think the people really do want the monarchy to be there. It's just, what kind of monarchy do they want? We're looking at, you know, reality TV has become so popular worldwide. They're the longest running reality TV show in the history of television, practically. Everyone wants to know what the Windsors are up to.

The question is can they take the monarchy to the next level, can they survive another 50 years. I think, really, with Prince William at the helm, King William one day, they really will be able to move into a new monarchy, a more, what shall we say, people-friendly monarchy than they have been in the past.

COOPER: Let me ask you, I'm just a commoner, uncouth commoner here, but I don't get the whole hoopla over Camilla Parker Bowles. I mean, it's 2003. She's invited to the party, she apparently can't sit with Prince Charles, and there is no official sort of recognition of her. Why not just, you know, let her sit with him and just announce they're seeing each other, getting married? Who really cares?

HOLLOWAY: Well, yes, who really does care. Do the British people care? Does the queen care? In the end, who cares?

But Camilla Parker Bowles is the other woman. Remember that she was the other woman in Charles and Diana's marriage. And she caused an enormous uproar. And there was the lovely Diana, and there was the, let's put it bluntly, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Diana, and nobody could quite understand why Charles loved Camilla and not Diana.

People remember those days, and bit by bit, she's managed to get a foot through the door, the royal door. But it has been very slow. And as you say, who really cares? Well, I think the monarchy cares. I think royal protocol says that she can come this far, but she can't get to sit by Charles. One day she will. And perhaps we'll have a royal marriage, who knows.

COOPER: All right, Alison Holloway, appreciate you joining us. It was fun, thank you.

HOLLOWAY: It's been fun. Thank you.


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