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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 15:49 GMT
Royal visit not yet making waves
By Matthew Davis
BBC News, Washington

If US media coverage of the first day of the prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's American tour is anything to go by, the visit will go almost unnoticed by many Americans.

New York Post front page
The tabloid New York Post was less than gracious

Those covering the occasion seem to be concentrating on two things - Camilla's appearance and the interaction between the royal couple.

The USA Today newspaper had headlined its preview of the tour: "Visit is a royal bore for most in the USA", alongside a poll suggesting 81% of Americans were not remotely interested.

Coverage of the first day of the royal visit, in which the couple began with a visit to Ground Zero and ended up at a champagne reception at the Museum of Modern Art, was buried inside a lifestyle supplement.

In a couple of hundred words compiled from wire reports, the paper noted: "Alert the British media! On her first day in the USA Camilla wore Italian not British wool - which could raise eyebrows back in wool-producing Britain, where royals are supposed to promote British products."

The Washington Post also relegated news of the visit to a supplement.

"They Came, They Saw, They Nodded - The Royals' Sedate Day in New York," read the headline.

Soap opera

Reporter Robin Givhan wrote: "In the manner of an old married couple, the Prince of Wales walked slightly ahead of his wife as he quietly inspected the half-finished stonework and the temporary topiaries (in the British Memorial Garden).

1 November: New York
2 November: Washington
4 November: New Orleans
5 November: Marin County
6 November: San Francisco

"He looked utterly captivated - by the garden, not his wife, whom he never once publicly touched."

The New York Times, which at least put the visit into its main news section, suggested it was the latest installment in a royal soap opera.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall were "co-stars in the longest-running British entertainment since 'Upstairs Downstairs' and now one that the children can finally be permitted to watch," the paper said.

The tabloid New York Post was less gracious as its fashion editor turned her ire on Camilla's dress sense. A picture of Camilla in her evening dress took up a third of the front page, alongside the headline "Queen Camilla is New York's Frump Tower".

Sartorial 'mistakes'

Fashion editor Orla Healy wrote: ""Diana would be amused. Her former rival and successor, Camilla Parker Bowles, failed spectacularly in her attempt to wow Manhattan society with her sartorial splendor last night.

"... the Duchess of Cornwall arrived at a chi-chi cocktail party looking more like an escapee from the choirboy pew of Westminster Abbey than the guest of honour.

"Despite the fact that she is travelling with an army of wardrobe consultants the Duchess of Cornwall couldn't seem to put a sartorial foot right yesterday."

Yet while there is far from the blanket coverage Prince Charles' last trip - with Princess Diana - provided 20 years ago, there is still curiosity at the visit.

Interest in the trip is likely to grow as the couple undertake higher profile engagements.

On Wednesday they are dining with President Bush at the White House. Later in the trip they will tour flood-ravaged New Orleans.

Ruth Hilton, a senior editor for OK! Magazine in the US, told the BBC: "Charles and Camilla don;t have the same cachet over here at the moment.... it is not being received in the American media and newspapers as a huge deal."

"But there is interest in who Camilla really is - the US is public still a bit unsure of what to make of her."

But she warned: "If Tom (Cruise) and Katie (Holmes) get married on the same day - no coverage for Charles and Camilla."

Baltimore SunRoyals' first stop on trip to U.S. is at Ground Zero - 16 hrs ago
Boston GlobeAt ground zero, royal couple pays tribute - 24 hrs ago
Daily Mail Warm hello for Royal couple - 25 hrs ago
CBC Charles, Camilla 'profoundly moved' at Sept. 11 memorial - 25 hrs ago
Mirror Royals Mourn Victims Of 9/11 - 29 hrs ago
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