Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles

The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles took place in a civil ceremony at Guildhall, Windsor on 9 April, 2005. The ceremony, conducted in the presence of the couples' families, was followed by a Church of England service of blessing at St George's Chapel. The groom's parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, did not attend the civil wedding ceremony but were present at the service of blessing and held a reception for the couple in Windsor Castle afterwards.

The marriage culminated the controversial romantic relationship between Prince Charles and his long-time mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, who has since been styled, "HRH" The Duchess of Cornwall. Charles, 56, and Camilla, 57, were both married once before their union. The proceedings of the Service of Prayer and Dedication were covered by the BBC network. Notable figures in attendance included international political, religious, and royal figures, and various celebrities.

Engagement and preparations

On 10 February, 2005, it was announced that Camilla Parker Bowles and the Prince of Wales would marry on 8 April, 2005, at Windsor Castle with a civil service followed by religious prayer. Mrs Parker Bowles' engagement ring, reported to be an "enormous" diamond by Sarah Lyall of "The New York Times" on 11 February, 2005, is a Windsor family heirloom that belonged to the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. With a 1920s platinum setting, it is composed of a square-cut central diamond flanked by six diamond baguettes.After the engagement announcement, the couple were congratulated by Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, indicating that consent had been granted under the Royal Marriages Act 1772; [ [ Buckingham Palace press releases > Marriage of HRH The Prince of Wales ] ] the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; the Prime Minister, Tony Blair; the Leader of the Opposition, Michael Howard; the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy; the Leader of the House of Commons, Peter Hain; and the Prime Ministers of the other Commonwealth Realms.

The Prince was the first member of the royal family to marry in a civil ceremony in England. Dr Stephen Chetney, a Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford questioned whether Charles and Camilla could marry in a civil ceremony, as the Royal Family was specifically excluded from the law which instituted civil marriages in England (the Marriage Act 1836). On 14 February the BBC's "Panorama" uncovered government documents dating from 1956 and 1964 which suggest that it may not be lawful for members of the royal family to marry in a civil ceremony in England and Wales, though it would be lawful in Scotland. [ [ BBC NEWS | Programmes | Panorama | Possible bar to wedding uncovered ] ] Clarence House rejected this. Lord Falconer of Thoroton told the House of Lords that the 1836 Act had been repealed by the Marriage Act 1949 which had different wording, and that the British Government were satisfied that it was lawful for the couple to marry by a civil ceremony in accordance with Part III of the 1949 Act. [ [ Lords Hansard text for 24 Feb 2005 (250224-51) ] ] Eleven objections were received by the Cirencester and Chippenham register offices but were all rejected by the Registrar General (and National Statistician) Len Cook who determined that a civil marriage would in fact be valid, [ [ Marriage Statement] ] the Human Rights Act 1998 apparently superseding any previously enacted legislation barring members of the royal family from civil marriages. There were calls for a short piece of legislation to remove all doubt, but no legislation was in fact introduced. In fact the matter was never seriously in issue, however, as it is a truism of English law that a statute is "pro tanto" repealed by a subsequent statute to the extent of any inconsistency, whether or not the prior inconsistent statute is expressly repealed for that or any purpose. (To what extent such an inconsistency exists however was itself a point of contention.)

On 17 February, Clarence House announced the marriage's change of venue from Windsor Castle to the Guildhall, Windsor, immediately outside the walls of the castle. [ [ BBC NEWS | UK | Prince and Camilla change venue ] ] This substitution came about when it was discovered that the legal requirements for licensing the royal castle for civil weddings would require opening it up to other prospective couples for at least three years. On 22 February, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen would not attend the wedding ceremony, but would attend the church blessing and host the reception afterwards. [ [ BBC NEWS | UK | Queen denies 'snub' over wedding ] ] The reason stated by the palace was the couple wanted to keep the occasion low key. It was unofficially known that the Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, could not endorse a civil wedding by her presence. On 4 April, it was announced that the wedding would be postponed 24 hours until 9 April, so that the Prince of Wales could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II as the representative of the Queen. The postponement also allowed some of the dignitaries that were invited to the funeral to attend the wedding. In keeping with tradition, the Prince of Wales spent the night apart from his bride-to-be at Highgrove, his country mansion in Gloucestershire, with his sons Princes William and Harry.

Wedding and blessing

The wedding took place at the Guildhall in Windsor at 12.30pm BST (12:30 UTC) on 9 April 2005. Crowds had gathered on the streets since dawn ahead of the service. A civil ceremony was planned because of controversy within the Church of England regarding the remarriage of divorcés. This was attended by all the senior royals apart from the Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. When Princess Anne married Timothy Laurence after having divorced Mark Phillips, she chose to do so in the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian body in Scotland. Remarriage of divorcees is less controversial in the Kirk (as it is known), and the sovereign is an ordinary member of the Kirk. The Prince of Wales and his bride did not elect this course of action.

At the wedding, the couple's witnesses were Prince William of Wales and the bride's son, Tom Parker Bowles. In keeping with tradition, the couple's wedding rings are crafted from 22 carat (92%) Welsh gold from the Clogau St David's mine in Bontddu. The design of the wedding rings is by Wartski, a London jeweller that has held the Royal Warrant to The Prince of Wales since 1979. The Prince wears his on the small finger of his left hand.For the wedding, the duchess wore a cream-coloured dress and coat with a wide-brimmed cream-coloured hat. For the blessing afterward, she wore a floor-length embroidered pale blue and gold coat over a matching chiffon gown and a dramatic spray of golden feathers in her hair. Both ensembles were by Antonia Robinson and Anna Valentine, London designers who work under the name Robinson Valentine; both hats were made by the Irish milliner Philip Treacy.

The wedding was followed by a televised blessing at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, led by The Archbishop of Canterbury.

Public and commercial interest

Manufacturers of pottery and other commemorative items faced a late rush to change the dates on their products after the delayed wedding date became known. However, sales of those with the incorrect date soared when people began to think that they would become collectors items. For the wedding day, the theme park Alton Towers changed the name of "Rita: Queen of Speed" to "Camilla: Queen of Speed". Television commercials and signs around the park were all updated to reflect this change. [" [ Theme park to rename ride Camilla] " at Newsround, BBC News. Accessed 12 April 2005.]

The BBC gained the rights to broadcast the event where there was live coverage of the Service of Prayer and Dedication from St George's Chapel. On BBC One Huw Edwards and Sophie Raworth presented the live coverage of the event and fashion advisors Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine contributed as the contemporary social commentators. The BBC had around thirty cameras at the event and shared footage with broadcasters throughout the world. BBC News 24 also had coverage during the day with Jane Hill and Simon McCoy reporting live from Windsor. [ [ BBC - Press Office - The Royal Wedding: Charles and Camilla ] ]

Wedding guest list

Family of the Prince of Wales

* HRH Prince William of Wales
* HRH Prince Harry of Wales
* HRH The Duke of York
* HRH Princess Beatrice of York
* HRH Princess Eugenie of York
* TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex
* HRH The Princess Royal and RAdm Timothy Laurence
* Mr Peter Phillips
* Miss Zara Phillips
* HRH Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy
* Viscount and Viscountess Linley
* Mr Daniel and Lady Sarah Chatto

Family of Camilla Parker Bowles

* Major Bruce Shand
* Mr Tom Parker Bowles and Miss Sara Buys
* Miss Laura Parker Bowles and Mr Harry Lopes
* Mr Mark Shand
* Mr and Mrs Simon Elliot
* Mr Ben Elliot
* Miss Katie Elliot
* Mr and Mrs Luke Irwin

Blessing guest list


* HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
* Plus: "Families of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles as per the above-mentioned list of wedding invitees"

Foreign royals

* King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah of Bahrain
* King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
* Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands
* Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway and Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway
* Radu Duda, Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen and Princess Margarita of Romania
* Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud and Princess Nouf bint Fahd bin Khalid Al Saud
* Prince Bandar bin Sultan
* Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia and Katherine, Crown Princess of Yugoslavia


* The Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda and Lady Carlisle
* The Governor-General of Australia and Marlena Jeffery
* The Governor-General of Barbados
* The Governor General of Canada and John Ralston Saul
* The Queen's Representative in the Cook Islands and Lady Goodwin
* The Governor-General of Grenada and Lady Williams
* The Commonwealth Secretary-General and Clare de Lore
* The Governor-General of New Zealand and Peter Cartwright
* The Governor-General of Papua New Guinea and Lady Matane
* The Governor-General of St. Christopher and Nevis


* Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair and Cherie Blair
* Conservative Party leader Michael Howard and Sandra Howard
* Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy and Sarah Kennedy
* First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell and Hannah McConnell
* First Minister for Wales Rhodri Morgan and Julie Morgan
* Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Paul Murphy

Religious representatives

* The Archbishop of Canterbury and Jane Williams
* The Rt Rev the Lord Carey of Clifton and Lady Carey

* The Dean of Windsor and wife
* The Rev Canon Doctor Hueston Finlay and wife
* The Rev Canon Laurence Gunner and wife
* The Rev Canon John Ovenden and Christine Ovenden
* The Rev John White

Celebrities and personalities

* Lady Annabel Goldsmith, socialite, and her family
* Christopher Warren-Green, conductor
* David Frost, broadcaster
* Edward Fox, actor and Joanna David
* Jilly Cooper, novelist
* Joan Rivers, comic
* Joanna Lumley, actress and ambassador for Prince's Trust
* Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince's Trust

* Lord Bragg, broadcaster and author
* Nicholas Soames, shadow defence secretary
* Paddy Campbell, fashion designer
* Philip Treacy, milliner
* Prunella Scales, actress
* Richard E. Grant, actor
* Robert Harris, author
* Ronald Harwood, playwright
* Sanjeev Bhaskar, actor
* Simon Sebag Montefiore, biographer, novelist and journalist
* Stephen Fry, actor, writer and broadcaster
* Sir Stephen Lamport, former private secretary of the prince
* Timothy West, actor
* Trudie Styler, actor and producer
* Valentino Garavani, fashion designer
* William Shawcross, writer and broadcaster
* William Rees-Mogg, former editor of "The Times"
* Rowan Atkinson, actor
* Staff from Clarence House, Highgrove, Birkhall and Sandringham


External links

* [ BBC News - In Depth: Charles and Camilla]
* [ Communications Unit - Prime Minister's Office of Saint Kitts and Nevis]
* [ CNN - Royal Wedding]
* [,8542,1409821,00.html Guardian Unlimited - In Pictures: Charles and Camilla]
* [|Daily Telegraph article including Guest Lists]

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