Charles and Camilla’s last-minute wedding drama as The Crown plans to tell story
5th September 2023

The Royal wedding of King Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was anything but a smooth ride and in new scenes set to air this autumn on The Crown, it's all about to resurface.

Involving far more drama than most realised, the wedding – that took place on April 9, 2005 – was marred with venue change hassle, disgruntled crowds and affair gossip recirculating.

With season six of The Crown set to hit our screens in a few months, fans are bracing themselves for wedding scenes from when our King was still the Prince of Wales and from a time where the general public were still left divided over his new wife-to-be – with many still holding onto a love and devotion for Princess Diana.

OK! takes a look at the troublesome moments that cast a behind-the-scenes shadow over the wedding proceedings from 18 years ago…

Venue change

Tying the knot in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, the pair then headed off to St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle to receive their official marriage blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

But originally the ceremony was frowned upon. At the time of their engagement, the Church of England was largely not supportive of second marriages if a spouse was still living. This was the case for Camilla because her ex, Andrew Parker Bowles was still alive.

To rectify the tricky situation, they arranged a Royal wedding like no other and divided it into two parts – the civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall and a secondary service at St. George's Chapel for their special marital blessing.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, gave his stamp of approval despite his mixed feelings on the situation, saying that he endorsed the marriage and that their arrangement was "consistent with Church of England guidelines concerning remarriage."

Although the couple has initially chosen Windsor Castle for the first half, a venue change was provoked after discovering that a having a civil wedding there would legally require opening it up to other couples for at least three years, so they instead moved the ceremony just outside the castle walls.

Interestingly, neither the late-Queen Elizabeth or late-Prince Philip attended the civil ceremony, but they did later appear at St. George's Chapel and the reception.

Date change

Although proceedings took place on Saturday 9 April, 2005, the couple originally wanted Friday 8 April instead. Just a week before the big day though the couple were thrown another curveball. The funeral of Pope John Paul II required attendance from Prince Charles in place of the Queen, postponing the wedding by 24 hours.

The last-minute switch forced manufacturers to change the date stamped on the commemorative products churned out for the occasion, costing a fortune for businesses across the UK.

A public outcry

Whilst crowds were pictured as a colourful and jubilant fanbase, luxury fascinators were as far as the eye could see and Union Jack flags were waved excitedly, behind the scenes the actuality of the day was far less jolly.

The public were heard booing Camilla as she arrived and whilst some Brits did get on board with them as a couple, some joined in angry outbursts when their engagement was announced.

Biographer Penny Junor in The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor recalled receiving emails from viewers of BBC Breakfast expressing their utter disgust at the news, with one determined woman screaming outside Clarence House that Charles should "never be King" if he was to marry Camilla.

Affairs rumours

Their relationship was always once filled with controversy.

Private tapes were leaked in 1992 – just three months after Charles and Diana split. The intimate telephone call from 1989 was between the Prince of Wales and Camilla — an exchange that confirmed rumours that the two were having an affair.

As the wedding approached, the rumour mill went back into overdrive, with a new generation of fans learning of every detail from the very beginning.

The Queen's disapproval

Like any boy, approval from mum before his big day would have been important to him, yet Charles didn't have it easy. During his divorce from Diana, her tragic death in 1997, and in all the years that followed, him and Camilla remained together and stronger than ever but the Queen strongly disapproved of their relationship in their early days, refusing to meet her for a long time.

In British journalist Tom Bower's biography, Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles the reporter wrote that the Queen allegedly called Camilla "that wicked woman" and said she wanted "nothing to do with her."

And, before things got better between Camilla and the Queen, they got worse. Early 2000s saw the monarch allegedly so upset with Charles that she refused an invitation to his 50th birthday party.

Time is a healer though, and over the years feelings thawed and the late Queen warmed to her new daughter in law to be. She later accepted an invitation to King Constantine of Greece's 60th birthday party, which was held at Charles's residence, Highgrove, knowing that Camila would be there. This act of acceptance was seen by many at the time as a subtle sign she was approving of their relationship.

Unexpected illness

Not many know that on the morning of the wedding, Camilla had been suffering from sinusitis, but the high energy from the crown kept her spirits up with the Queen-to-be approaching the masses of fans, thanking everyone for coming out to celebrate their big day.

There were a few boos, but most spectators were there to show their support. "She looked endearingly frightened when she stepped out of the car with Charles and waved briefly before disappearing into Guildhall," Junor wrote. "But it was clear the crowd was on her side."

After the wedding, Camilla was to be known as Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall and now known as Queen Camilla after King Charles's Coronation earlier this year.

Unlikely speech from the Queen

It might have been a rainy wedding day but the late Queen's speech had lovely sunshine moments at the reception, where she compared compared the couple's relationship to the Grand National, a popular horse race known for its difficult jumps and an event once adored by the late Queen.

She said: "They have overcome Becher's Brook and The Chair and all kinds of other terrible obstacles. They have come through and I'm very proud and wish them well. My son is home and dry with the woman he loves."

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