Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles

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Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles
Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles photo.PNG
Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles on their wedding day.
Date 9 April 2005, 12.30 pm BST (11:30 UTC)
Location Windsor Guildhall
St. George's Chapel
Participants Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William, Tom Parker Bowles, Prince Harry, Laura Parker Bowles, Major Bruce Shand, Elizabeth II, Duke of Edinburgh, The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Lord Carey of Clifton, The Dean of Windsor

The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles took place in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, on 9 April 2005. The ceremony, conducted in the presence of the couple's 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 Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 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 relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, who was later styled HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Charles, 56, and Camilla, 57, were both married once before their union, raising memories of the Edward VIII abdication crisis of 1936, which was sparked by the then-king's desire to marry a divorcee. 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[edit]

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 is a Windsor family heirloom that belonged to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. With a 1920s platinum setting, it is composed of a square-cut central diamond flanked by six diamond baguettes.[1] 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.[2] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr 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 also added their congratulations.[3]

Questioning a royal civil wedding[edit]

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 (Marriage Act 1836). On 14 February the BBC's Panorama uncovered documents of official legislative research advice dating from 1956 and 1964, which stated that it was not lawful for members of the royal family to marry in a civil ceremony in England and Wales, though it would be lawful in Scotland.[4] These documents' statements were dismissed by Clarence House on the advice of four unnamed legal experts.[5] These experts' views that the 1836 Act had been repealed by the Marriage Act 1949 were upheld by the British Government. Acting through Lord Falconer of Thoroton, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor, the sitting government issued a written statement published by the House of Lords in their debate record:

Quote from "Royal Marriage", Lords Hansard, 24 Feb 2005: "The Government are satisfied that it is lawful for the Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles, like anyone else, to marry by a civil ceremony in accordance with Part III of the Marriage Act 1949. Civil marriages were introduced in England, by the Marriage Act 1836. Section 45 said that the Act "... shall not extend to the marriage of any of the Royal Family". But the provisions on civil marriage in the 1836 Act were repealed by the Marriage Act 1949. All remaining parts of the 1836 Act, including Section 45, were repealed by the Registration Service Act 1953. No part of the 1836 Act therefore remains on the statute book. ... We are aware that different views have been taken in the past; but we consider that these were overcautious, and we are clear that the interpretation I have set out in this Statement is correct. We also note that the Human Rights Act has since 2000 required legislation to be interpreted wherever possible in a way that is compatible with the right to marry (Article 12) and with the right to enjoy that right without discrimination (Article 14). This, in our view, puts the modern meaning of the 1949 Act beyond doubt."[6]

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,[7] 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.)

Change of the wedding location and date[edit]

On 17 February, Clarence House announced the marriage's change of venue from Windsor Castle to the Windsor Guildhall, immediately outside the walls of the castle.[8] 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.[9] The reason stated by the palace was the couple wanted to keep the occasion low key. 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 House, his country mansion in Gloucestershire, with his sons Princes William and Harry.[10]

Wedding and blessing[edit]

The wedding took place at the Windsor Guildhall at 12.30 pm BST (11:30 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 divorcees[10] (see, for example, Edward VIII abdication crisis). It should be noted that there would have been no impediment to Charles remarrying in the Church of England to a non-divorcee since his ex-wife's death back in 1997 had made him a widower according to Church law. The problem was that his bride's ex-husband was still alive.[11]

The ceremony was attended by all the senior royals apart from the Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[12] When Princess Anne married Timothy Laurence after having divorced Mark Phillips, she chose to do so in the Church of Scotland. Remarriage of divorcees is less controversial in the Church of Scotland, and the sovereign has no constitutional role in the governance of the Church. The Prince of Wales and his bride did not elect this course of action.[10]

The arrival of the Royal guests in a locally hired mini-bus was unprecedented. After the wedding, the couple's witnesses were Prince William of Wales and the bride's son, Tom Parker Bowles.[13][14] In keeping with tradition, the couple's wedding rings are crafted from 22 carat Welsh gold from the Clogau St David's mine in Bontddu. The tradition of using Clogau Gold within the wedding rings of The Royal Family dates back to 1923.[1] 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.[15] Both ensembles were by Antonia Robinson and Anna Valentine, London designers who worked under the name Robinson Valentine, now solely called Anna Valentine; both hats were made by the Irish milliner Philip Treacy.[1]

The wedding was followed by a televised blessing at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, led by The Archbishop of Canterbury.[16]

The wedding cake was made by Mrs Blunden, owner of the "Sophisticake" cake shop in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.[17] In April 2005 a hotelier paid £215 in an internet auction for a slice of cake.[18]

Public and commercial interest[edit]

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 their rollercoaster "Rita: Queen of Speed" to "Camilla: Queen of Speed". Television commercials and signs around the park were all updated to reflect this change.[19]

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.[20]

Wedding guest list[edit]

Family of the Prince of Wales[edit]

Family of Camilla Parker Bowles[edit]

Blessing guest list[edit]

Viceroys[edit]

Foreign royalty[edit]

Bahrain:

Greece:

Norway:

Yugoslavia:

The Netherlands:

Romania:

Saudi Arabia:

UK Politicians[edit]

Religious representatives[edit]

Other notable guests[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, Marriage Profile
  2. ^ "Buckingham Palace press releases > Marriage of HRH The Prince of Wales". Royal.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Prince Charles to marry Camilla". BBC News. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Possible bar to wedding uncovered". BBC. 14 February 2005. Retrieved 26 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Panorama: Lawful impediment?". BBC. 14 February 2005. Retrieved 26 February 2009. 
  6. ^ The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) (24 February 2005). "Royal Marriage; Lords Hansard Written Statements 24 Feb 2005: Column WS87 (50224–51)". Parliament. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  7. ^ "Marriage Statement". Gro.gov.uk. 19 May 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "Prince and Camilla change venue". BBC News. 17 February 2005. 
  9. ^ "Queen denies 'snub' over wedding". BBC News. 23 February 2005. 
  10. ^ a b c Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
  11. ^ Moore, Charles (12 February 2005). "What is really keeping the Crown from Camilla's head?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Queen not going to Charles wedding". CNN. 22 February 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Wedding role for William and Tom". BBC News. 23 March 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Clarence House (23 March 2005). "William a witness at royal wedding". CNN. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Parker Bowles, elegant yet feminine for wedding". Msnbc. 9 April 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Clarence House (18 March 2005). "Royal wedding blessing on live TV". CNN. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  17. ^ Royal Correspondent 9:00AM GMT 20 March 2011 (20 March 2011). ""Is this the royal wedding cake maker?" at". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "Royal wedding cake sold on web" ar bbc.co.uk
  19. ^ "Theme park to rename ride Camilla" at Newsround, BBC News. Retrieved 12 April 2005.
  20. ^ "The Royal Wedding: Charles and Camilla". BBC. 30 March 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 

External links[edit]