A surprise announcement from Clarence House states that The Duchess of Cornwall,second wife of The Prince of Wales(more generally called Camilla Parker Bowles) wishes it to be known that she is an entry for and intends to compete in this years Virgin sponsored London Marathon on April 17th. The statement from Clarence House does not reveal the name of the charity The Duchess will be running for.
Though sixty-three years of age The Duchess will not be the oldest runner in this years gruelling 26.2 miles event and the inside word from my source at the palace is that Camilla herself will not be turning up on the day as any mere 'fun runner' .A rigorous training programme over the last six months has also meant that she is now extremely fit for her age having had lots of early morning exercise runs at Mick Channon's West Isley facilities in Newbury,Berkshire during the last six months.
From what my source was saying it seems the idea of The Duchess lining up with the other thousands of runners this spring came from The Queen herself who feels her participation would do a great deal towards raising her popularity in the eyes of the general public - with Camilla herself accepting some progress is required in that area before she could realistically take over the reins from The Queen.Charles finally accepted that as well after students had thrown railings at the couple's royal limousine along London's Regent Street just before Christmas.Certainly if The Duchess manages to get to The Mall this April with the finishing tape in sight then London could be witnessing royal cheers even before those expected to be heard for Kate Middleton a couple of weeks later.
I drove along to Mick Channon's West Isley yard arriving just after
seven yesterday morning in the hope of seeing Camilla being put through her paces in a work-out on the Berkshire hills but Mick Channon came over to me to tell me I was wasting my time because The Duchess had already been there and completed that morning's gallop.
"She's a goodun make no mistake," enthused the ex-footballer turned racehorse trainer, though he was not confident of her chances of actually winning the marathon."It's a long trip requiring an out and out stayer,"he explained."But she's fit and raring to go and you could do worse than by risking a foyver each way on the lass sir,"he advised with a trainers wink of quiet confidence.
The official statement released from Buckingham palace says simply that HM The Queen supports the decision of The Duchess of Cornwall to participate in the event and that irrespective of whether she wins or not The Queen hopes that all those who take part in this years London Marathon come back safely.
At least the marathon event isn't 'over the sticks'.The Duchess could find her knees buckling under her if she was intending to jump Beechers Brook!