“That's tricky for me, but I would say I would marry Prince Charles, misbehave with Prince Harry...I'd have to kill Prince William!"—Elizabeth Hurley, playing “Shag, Marry, Kill" for host Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live,” quoted in Zach Johnson, “Elizabeth Hurley Says Her Friends Nicknamed Hugh Grant ‘Grumplestiltskin’ and Rates Their Sex Life—Watch!,” E!Online, March 11, 2015
As Austin Powers might say: “Oh, behave!!!”
A friend of mine (AND HE KNOWS WHO HE IS!!!!) has long classified Elizabeth Hurley among his Dark-Haired British Beauties (DHBBs), a comely cohort that also includes the likes of Helena Bonham-Carter, Julia Ormond and Kate Beckinsale.
These days, Ms. Hurley is joining Bonham-Carter in portraying a female member of the British royal family—though in this case, it’s not the real-life loyal, affectionate “Queen Mom” that netted Bonham-Carter an Oscar nomination in The King's Speech, but Queen Helena, the far more catty, conniving center of the fictional TV series The Royals.
I’ve only seen Ms. Hurley in two films, so I can’t say if she has ever appeared more convincing than she did in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, when she (unsuccessfully) urged on the title character the importance of dental hygiene. And I’m not going to sit there and see if she is plumbing hitherto-unsuspected thespian talent in her new role, for three reasons: 1) I’m not a soap-opera fan; 2) as a strong believer in the American Revolution, I see no magic in the notion of royalty; and 3) the Anglophilia Level of this Irish-American runs at about -20.
The Royals’ provenance (the E! Channel, home of Keeping Up With the Kardashians) has led numerous American TV reviewers to scold their British counterparts. The consensus among these critics seems to be that the British have Shakespeare, while we have Sleaze—and, in an application of the Monroe Doctrine to reality TV (or, in the case of The Royals, a cousin), the Old World should keep its grubby mitts off the territory of the New World.
My friend, the President of the DHBB Admiration Society, will probably react with equanimity to the news that Ms. Hurley is 49. “She’s aging well” is an oft-repeated mantra of his about Attractive Women of a Certain Age. (He’s never said this in the presence of such women, however—I have a feeling that they would only hear the first two words, not the third, before getting peeved.) The picture I’m attaching to this post, then, is a form of free public service to see if any of my other readers agree with him about the woman who is now playing Queen Helena.
I say, Old Chap (or so I'm told men of a certain class say in Albion): I really do admire her pluck! In the United States, the best a woman of her age group can aspire to is Cougar Town; in Great Britain, it’s nothing less than Buckingham Palace.
Ah, but there’s the rub: There already IS a Woman of a Certain Age lodged there: the former Camilla Parker-Bowles. Ms. Hurley may have had her sights set on marrying Prince Charles, according to the above tongue-in-cheek quote, but he’s already taken. Moreover, Camilla—though probably ranking lower in the looks department than Ms. Hurley--also managed to supplant a woman who, by most people’s measures, was considerably more attractive than herself.
In other words, Prince Charles, though part of a saga that, at times, sounds trashier than anything that could be concocted for The Royals, appears to have found love. Who’d have thought it?