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The Crown, Part 29. Photos: Discovery/Getty
The Crown, Part 29. Photos: Discovery/Getty

PoliticsOctober 11, 2023

At last: Winston Peters brings Charles and Diana’s marriage into the campaign

The Crown, Part 29. Photos: Discovery/Getty
The Crown, Part 29. Photos: Discovery/Getty

And does this mean he is Camilla?

Knuckleheads, puffed up little shits and other assorted commentators have been complaining over the course of the 2023 election campaign about a paucity of vision, an absence of ambition, a shortage of soaring oratory. Their prayers were answered, their piteous mewing brought to an end last night by the most Right and very Honorable Mr Winston Peters, the Princess of Wales and the institution of marriage.

Let us go back a bit to set the scene. Not as far back as 1981, and the marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to the future King Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral, a mesmeric occasion that captured hearts across the globe. Just to last night’s Press debate in Christchurch, conducted before an audience of hundreds and hosted by almost as many. David Seymour, one of four participants, rolled out a metaphor he has used numerously over the course of the campaign: a coalition between National and Act cast as a vow of matrimony.

He said: “I apologise for the imagery, and Amanda Luxon doesn’t like this, but I see it as a kind of marriage. It’s a relationship where, Chris and I, we’ve got to keep our own identity and purpose while making the relationship work.”

After the debate, the marriage thing was put to the leader of New Zealand First. And the campaign suddenly came alight. Everything was immediately forgiven. “I think that was an unfortunate metaphor to use,” said Peters, gnawing on a grin. “Because it begs the comparison with Diana’s marriage. You remember?” A pause. “Well, a marriage between three parties is not possible. I don’t know how he got that so wrong.”

He was referring to that haunting, evocative remark by Princess Diana in a 1995 Panorama documentary. Of her marriage to Prince Charles, she said: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” The third in the marriage, of course, was Camilla Parker Bowles. She and Charles shared a deeper, substantially posher love. They both loved polo, they called each other Fred and Gladys and did late-night sexy chats on the telephone. Diana was miserable.

It is unknown whether Queen Camilla has ever met Winston Peters but she did once hold aloft a massive potato twirl at a farmers’ market in Feilding. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

To return then to October 2023, to the coalescent musings of Luxon, Seymour and Peters. Who is Charles? Who is Princess Di? And who is Camilla? Is there a historic revisionism that imagines them getting along amiably if they’d sorted out a sensible confidence and supply agreement?

What exactly does it have to do with Peters repeatedly calling Seymour a cuck? Does this mean Chris Hipkins is Prince Harry or is that altogether too weird? Will the next series of The Crown be set in the Beehive? These are all absurd questions, and I intend to focus on them and nothing else for what remains of this interminable, anaemic campaign.

After Peters reached into the annals of regal history last night in Christchurch, one sharp journalist, political and palace editor Jane Patterson from RNZ I think it was, asked the key question. “Are you Camilla?”

“No, no,” said Peters, “what I’m saying is that’s not possible. There are three parties involved here. Not two. You get me?”

But it was too late, and we did get him. Winston Peters is Camilla Parker-Bowles. The most enduring kingmaker of them all.

Keep going!