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Queen Camilla is a novel by the British author Sue Townsend.
It follows the Queen, the Prince of Wales and his new wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who, at the start of the novel, have been living for the last 13 years on the Flowers Estate, now called the Flowers Exclusion Zone or 'The Fez'. The Fez is the private fiefdom of scaffolding magnate Arthur Grice, Prince William's employer. Grice fancies himself a grand-scale public benefactor; he often wonders why most Fez residents dismiss him as little more than the self-aggrandising businessman he is. He lobbies the Queen for a knighthood, which she cannot grant him, all honours having been abolished.
The Exclusion Zones are the worst sign of the authoritarian country Britain has become, with almost lock-down security in the Fez. Jack Barker, Cromwell (formerly Peoples' Republican) Party leader and Prime Minister, is exhausted after 13 years in office, and wants out. The New Conservative ("New Con") Party elects "Boy" English as its new leader; Boy promises to restore the monarchy.
The Queen, now 80, does not want to return to public life; she tells her family she has decided to abdicate. One reason: the Duke of Edinburgh, her husband, suffered a debilitating stroke two years earlier, and is now being (badly) cared for in a nursing-home in another part of the Fez. With the Queen's abdication, the Prince of Wales will now become King Charles III - but Camilla will only be his consort, not his Queen. Charles refuses to become King unless Camilla is his Queen. Prince William then offers, too eagerly for the Queen's liking, to reign in his father's place. Charles consults his friend, MP Nicholas Soames, who tells him there is no constitutional reason Camilla cannot become his Queen.
Enter Graham Cracknall, who claims to be the son of Charles and Camilla, born in 1965. His adoptive parents revealed his biological parentage in a codicil to their will, opened only after both had died. Graham visits Charles and Camilla; the whole family takes an instant dislike to him - particularly after he claims that he, not Prince William, is second in line to the throne after Charles. Graham then attracts the online attention of a mysterious lady named Miranda - who, unknown to him, is a New Con operative in the General Election that is finally called. On learning of the New Con ruse, the enraged Graham goes to the Daily Telegraph with his story; he is not believed, causes a disturbance when thrown out, and ends up in Rampton Hospital. The New Cons win the election, restoring the monarchy as promised, but the Queen follows through on her decision to abdicate, and Charles becomes King. The other members of the Royal Family, including Queen Camilla, spend part of each day talking with tourists.
Inconsistencies between novels
There are several inconsistencies between the two novels, among them:
- The fate of the Imperial State Crown; destroyed in The Queen and I, is still in the Queen's possession in Queen Camilla.
- The death of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The character was killed off in The Queen and I, set in 1992, yet in Queen Camilla she is said to have lived to the age of 101, as she did in real life.
- In The Queen and I Jack Barker effectively "sells" Britain to the Japanese; in Queen Camilla this is changed to the Americans. Accordingly, the marriage of Prince Edward to the daughter of the Emperor of Japan is forgotten and the character is married to his real-life wife, Sophie.
- Tony Threadgold's name is changed to Vince, and he and Beverley apparently now only have one child, Aaron, as opposed to two, Lisa-Marie and Vernon. They also now live next door to Charles and Camilla instead of the Queen.
- In The Queen and I Prince Charles goes on the run after escaping from prison. No explanation is given for his return to Hell Close.
However, the events of The Queen and I are revealed in the end to be those of a dream, and in the context of the novel, did not happen. This would explain the inconsistencies.