- The Washington Times - Friday, November 4, 2005

In the end, there was no dancing, no tiara, not much fanfare and only one fancy Ascot-style hat.

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, wound up their three-day visit to Washington yesterday after laying a wreath at the World War II Memorial. The couple then flew to New Orleans, where they visited with recovery workers and victims of Hurricane Katrina. They will end their trip to the United States this weekend in California.

The visit had been seen as a “coming out” for the heir to the British throne and his new wife.

With Camilla’s wardrobe of 50 dresses, diamond chokers, family jewels, makeup cases, and her hairdresser and makeup artist (dubbed “Team Camilla”), the entourage had traveled to the United States on a chartered jet along with about four dozen members of the British press. The normally cheeky British reporters were unusually subdued, refraining from shouting questions and calmly vying for camera angles.

The reporters did have fun with one photo showing first lady Laura Bush with her hand on Charles’ lower back as they entered the White House for dinner Wednesday night. “That’s My Tush, Mrs. Bush,” the caption read in the British newspaper the Sun.

Charles looked solemn during his time in Washington, wearing double-breasted bespoke suits. Camilla dressed appropriately for nearly every occasion, with sensible shoes and her clutch bag.

The only fashion gaffe may have been the frilly antique gold lace cocktail dress worn to the British Embassy on Thursday night, which looked like a high school prom dress on the 58-year-old Camilla.

Fans who lined up as Charles and Camilla made stops in Washington to promote their good causes (architecture, faith and social responsibility, the environment, organic farming, osteoporosis, childhood education and Shakespeare) seemed curious to get a glimpse of the couple, but not exactly overwhelmed.

The British tabloid, the Star, called the trip “The Bore Tour.”

It was in vast contract to Charles’ visit to Washington in 1985, with Princess Diana. She famously danced with actor John Travolta at the White House, and a picture of the dancing duo still hangs in a front hallway there. Diana won the hearts of Americans for her fashion sense and charitable causes, and her death in a 1997 car crash in Paris was considered a tragedy. Camilla, who married Charles in April after an on-again off-again 30-year love affair, had a hard act to follow.

Camilla delivered her first public speech in America to doctors and researchers at the National Institutes of Health on Thursday morning. Between nervous sips of water, she managed to get through it in her low-throated British accent.

A former smoker, she reportedly has given up the habit for more healthy ways to relieve stress, including yoga.

Next stop for the couple: San Francisco, where they will visit an organic farm and Camilla likely will feel more at home.

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