Game of Crowns, a new book by British royal watcher Christopher Anderson, examines the relationships between Queen Elizabeth, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Kate Middleton. Anderson’s book brings with it several interesting—and probably debatable—revelations, such as the fact that the Queen merely “tolerates” her daughter-in-law Camilla, and that it was the Duchess of Cornwall herself, who orchestrated Prince William and the former Kate Middleton’s 2007 break-up because she was worried that the photogenic young couple would steal some of her thunder as she made a full-court press to win the title of Purim Queen, or something.
So why should you care? Well, prepare yourself—sit, ready some water—because what I’m about to tell you might leave you stunned for at least a full minute. Ready? Are you comfortable? Do you have a a fan handy?
Okay. According to Game of Crowns… HRH Prince Charles—the Prince of Wales, the heir to the British throne—loved Barbra Streisand.
Whatever, you say? Who doesn’t love Barbra Streisand? Well, Charles like love loved Barbra Streisand. No, really. Apparently, had he a decades-long “infatuation” with her. Charles loved Streisand the way Nick Nolte loved Dr. Susan Lowenthal in The Prince of Tides, the way Avigdor loved Hadas and then Anschel and then Yentl and then Hadas again, leading to much sexual confusion and torment.
Apparently, Charles loved Streisand so much that he hung a picture of the actress on his wall at Cambridge, and in his quarters at Buckingham Palace. He loved her so much that he actually went to visit her on the set of Funny Lady (Funny Lady!) in 1974, and they had a cup of coffee. He wrote that he felt she had great “sex appeal.” According to Game of Crowns, Charles loved her so much that Princess Diana was worried that they might have an affair, and that they were very “flustered” when a housekeeper interrupted them in Charles’s study during a Streisand-visit to London sometime in the ‘90’s.
Barbra, apparently, has said to friends—they say “joked” but as we all know, Barbra doesn’t joke about anything—that if she hadn’t been so flustered and, one assumes, distracted by the business of making Funny Girl (not to mention the business of making Jon Peters) at their first meeting, she might have been “the first real Jewish Princess.”
You guys. If not for the cruel hand of fate, Barbra Streisand could have been the Queen of England. What would that have been like?
(Before you argue away this daydream with logistical issues of eligibility, i.e., they would never let a Jewish girl marry the Defender of the Faith, just know this: The parliamentary Act of Settlement of 1701 decrees anyone married to an unconverted Roman Catholic will be removed from the Line of Succession; it doesn’t say a damn thing about a Jew.)
So where was I? Oh, yes: Barbra on the throne. What would that have been like?
First, immediate renovations to Buckingham Palace, during which there is a process of getting rid of all primary colors and hunting trophies, and replacing them with California craftsman furniture, American folk art treasures, and antique dolls as far as the eye can see. (I mean, just think of the kind of underground mall you could build in Windsor Castle.) Second, think of Barbra’s breathless recounting to the press of Her Majesty’s official dresser, Donna Karan, whose Brisish citizenship would have to have been rushed just to make it all super-duper kosher. Karan’s new line, then, would be called Donna UK, or just DUK, and go under the slogan: “We dressed her Majesty in double faced cream cashmere cape and matching palazzo pants, but we added a drawstring to the pants, because you know, she likes to be comfortable.”
And just think of all the fun Yiddishisms and family anecdotes she could throw into addresses to various women’s groups and charity organizations: “So I said to Kate, nu? What’s the matter with you? You’re just going to sit around the house all day with those babies, not eating? Tell you what, I’m going to call my beautiful son Jason and he’s going to take you out to the theater, you’ll go to the Carole King musical, you’ll love it.”
Ah, the way we were, or rather, the way it could have been. Like a big golden vat of Duchy Originals hand-churned organic butter. God save the queen.