Watching brief - Amanda Platell admires Sandra Howard's cardy

In which I eye up Camilla's couture tents, appreciate Sandra Howard's cardy, and peek inside Wayne a

It was indeed the week of three weddings and a funeral, but as is so often the case nowadays, the nuptials were all retreads. The Pope was buried in Rome; Tony Blair said he felt wedded to the British people, but he knew that he'd let us down and he wanted a second - sorry, third - chance; then he renewed his vows to Gordon Brown in the News of the World. Oh, yes, and Prince Charles married Mrs Parker Bowles.

Yet for many of us who watched (or should I say the few of us, as it was the least-watched wedding in royal history?), it was not a fairy tale but something more akin to the death of dreams. I was 24 and as yet unmarried when, along with 28.4 million other people in the UK, I saw Charles marry Diana. She embodied all that was hopeful about life and love. And yet, like millions of us who watched then, she found herself landed with a cheating husband who made her life a misery.

So, 24 years later, to see that man marry the woman he never stopped having sex with was a long way from a fairy-tale ending, despite the small fortune Camilla spent on her frocks. And she did look handsome in her fitted couture tents, but who wouldn't, with the millions she has at her disposal?

In the end, an apathetic public preferred to watch Ken get married to Deirdre in Coronation Street. We hardly even needed a Sunday Times poll to tell us that 60 per cent wanted William, not Charles, to be king.

Mrs Parker Bowles, as she will forever be known to me, carried a small bouquet of wild flowers and forget-me-nots. Would that we could forget Mrs PB.

Mark Bolland, former aide to Charles, wrote one of the most insightful pieces on the union in the Sunday Times. That he was not invited to any of the wedding ceremonies despite his six years of Herculean effort to rehabilitate Camilla speaks volumes about this royal couple.

Loyalty applies to mistresses, not servants. Bolland wrote that a member of Camilla's own family had described her as the "laziest woman to have been born in England in the 20th century".

A woman who has never worked in her life and shows no signs of starting now; who came into an inheritance of £500,000 at the age of 21; who sent both her children to boarding school and filled her time lunching, hunting and having sex with Charles - and we're supposed to respect her as our future queen?

Having done the 2001 election with William Hague, I know the four-week campaign period is about the most gruelling thing any person, not least the wives, could put themselves through. And although wives may count for nothing at the ballot box, they are an invaluable solace to their husbands and party supporters, as was the wonderful Ffion Hague in the last election. I believe it was she who came up with the line, after John Prescott punched out a protester: "Well, that's one way to reach the voters."

Sandra Howard goes from strength to strength. Her Telegraph interview where she was photographed on the cover in an old cardy was one of the most endearing political pictures I've seen for some time. She is a great asset to Michael Howard.

So is the heavily pregnant Sarah Kennedy to Charles. You can't help but warm to a man whose wife adores him so much, she will campaign with him on his battle bus right up until her waters break.

And then there's Cherie, Tony's secret weapon, so secret that she didn't appear on the campaign trail in the first week. Perhaps she's such an electoral liability that she won't appear until the result. We can but dream.

Who said the royal family was stuck in the past? The Windsors have clearly learned the trick of the walkabout from new Labour. Just as Blair filled the streets around Downing Street with the party faithful in 1997, so Charles took no chances, inviting only his charity workers to line the streets immediately outside St George's Chapel. Our future king's throne is dependent on the people, yet he cannot even trust to their civility on his wedding day.

Of all the recent redundancies at the Telegraph, the writer whose absence I feel most acutely is the columnist Janet Daley. When I worked for the Tories and since, I always sought her analysis, so it is good to see her in magnificent form in the Mail on Sunday. The Telegraph has many good writers, but Daley is a great one, with an unmatchable political hinterland and intellect. It is upon the strength of such writers that serious newspapers' reputations are won and lost.

Who needs footballers' wives for entertainment when we have footballers' fiancees? And the undisputed queen of them all is Wayne Rooney's Coleen McLoughlin. Coleen has just spent an additional £1.5m on their new home to make it a vault of vulgarity, putting in a £10,500 fake-tanning booth - so now they can bronze their his'n'hers thighs.

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