A History of Royal Weddings At Windsor: The Prince of Wales & Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles
The penultimate wedding in our series of Royal Weddings at Windsor occurred in 2005, when His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales finally married his longtime love, Camilla Parker Bowles. Their backstory is infamous, but not what we're here for today. With their union they gave us a Royal wedding that was a tasteful example of a second marriage between two individuals of a certain age and rank.
Prince Charles and Mrs. Parker Bowles announced their engagement on February 10, 2005. That same evening they attended an event at Windsor, where the future Duchess of Cornwall showed off her enormous emerald-cut diamond engagement ring, which had once belonged to the Prince's beloved late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Their wedding was planned for April 8. The death on April 2 of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and his funeral on April 8 caused the couple to delay their nuptials by one day so that His Royal Highness could travel to Rome and represent Her Majesty at the funeral.
In sensitivity to each couple's first marriage, public opinion, Her Majesty's position as Head of The Church of England (and most likely their own preferences as well), the grandeur of a full-scale Royal wedding wasn't present on April 9, 2005. What was was a charming civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor, with the bride wearing a Robinson Valentine dress and coat of ivory silk chiffon and a grand hat designed by Philip Treacy. The Queen was not present for the civil service but Prince Charles and Ms. Parker Bowles were supported by other family members, including their children, the bride's father Major Bruce Shand, and The Duke of York with both York Princesses, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Princess Royal and her husband, and several other members from both families.
Next they were joined by Prince Charles' parents Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh and roughly 800 guests for a blessing by The Archbishop of Canterbury at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Among the foreign Royals in attendance were His Majesty The King of Bahrain, Their Majesties King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece, Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway, The Crown Prince and Princess of Yugoslavia, The Crown Princess of Romania, as well as Royals from Saudi Arabia and The Netherlands. Guests also included famous faces from the world of entertainment, such as the late Joan Rivers, musician Phil Collins, and fashion designer Valentino Garavani. For this religious service the bride undertook an utterly glamorous outfit change. Her porcelain blue and gold silk ensemble was also by Robinson Valentine, and her magnificent gold headdress another Philip Treacy creation. The bride gave a nod to Royal tradition with a sprig of myrtle in her petite bouquet. Following the ceremony, The Queen hosted a reception at Windsor Castle.
Upon marriage, Prince Charles' new wife became styled Her Royal Highness and adopted the feminized version of his Royal titles. Yet, while legally she is The Princess of Wales, the new Royal bride chose to go by the secondary title of Duchess of Cornwall. Her full title is Her Royal Highness Camilla, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Countess of Chester, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, and Baroness of Renfrew. Someday she will become Queen Consort as Her Majesty Queen Camilla (all mention of her becoming Princess Consort has been dropped by Clarence House, and she'll be Queen when Prince Charles ascends the throne, whether we call her that or not, just as she is now The Princess of Wales).
So can we draw parallels between Prince Charles' second marriage that of his son Prince Harry coming up in just a few weeks time? The Archbishop of Canterbury blessed The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's union and will be performing a full, traditional ceremony on Mary 19, previously married bride or not. Our money is on Meghan going "full Princess" with her bridal gown and accessories, though (she better, dammit). There will also be celebrities mingling with the British Royal Family, and surely a sprinkling of foreign Royals too. There will be nods to tradition where appropriate, and visions of the future, too. And like Camilla Parker Bowles, Meghan Markle can be sure to walk out of St. George's Chapel laden with Royal titles. Remember, Kate Middleton didn't just become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge upon her marriage - but also Countess of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus. We can't wait to hear what Prince Harry and his lovely bride's new titles will be!
- Written By Marcia Masenda Mack
(Top Image: The Bride and Groom flanked by their parents and children. Bottom: The Bride and Groom at their civil service (left) and religious blessing at St. George's Chapel (right))