by Sue Townsend
Available at Silver Bird Books
Price: Kshs 1,190
“What if being royal was a crime? The UK has come over all republican. The royal family is exiled to an exclusion zone with the other villains and spongers. And to cap it all, the Queen has threatened to abdicate. Yet Prince Charles is more interested in root vegetables than reigning…unless his wife Camilla can be queen in a newly restored monarchy. And when a scoundrel who claims to be the couple’s secret love child offers to take the crown off their hands, the stage is set for a right royal showdown.”
The author’s depiction of a future Britain without the trappings of the Royal Family, and their immersing their consciousness on the British public, is the perfect set-up for satirical British humour. The book can be considered an easy read for those odd times you find yourself with ample time, and no pressing household chores to complete.
The story begins rather slowly with the introduction of the exile of the Royal Family (i.e. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Charles & Camilla, William & Harry.) Following the election of “New Labour” (known as the Cromwell Party) they are sent to live, like the average Brit, in a council estate, in an exclusion zone away from public life, together with all society’s rejects. The situation basically brings out the dry wit of their daily existence with their eccentric neighbours, the “police state” they are subjected to, and the ever ridiculous interactions afforded them in their present surroundings.
Frankly, the author’s sense of humour in parlaying the characters and views of modern society, on the possibility of Britain without the Royal Family, is a faint attempt at escapism, that would easily baffle the reader… unless one was already into that sort of thing. It is a question constantly discussed in England, whether the monarchy remains relevant or not -and there has clearly been no answer but a clinging to tradition, whether reluctant or not.
At best, “Queen Camilla” is a poor attempt at capturing the essence of pure Brit wit and one would be misadvised to expect a laugh.