The wedding of Prince Charles and Camila Parker Bowles was among the most lowkey royal weddings in recent memory. The civil ceremony was so lowkey that Queen Elizabeth didn’t even attend. Don’t worry, there is an explanation.
Not Very Popular
In April 2005, Bowles was not very popular. She was widely blamed by the press for the destruction of Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage. Diana cast a wide shadow over the wedding, so the royal family was cautious not to make a big deal out of the ceremony. This is why Bowles is seldom referred to by the title “Princess of Wales.”
Anyway, Charles’ divorce caused a problem. The Church of England actively discourages divorce, so Bowles and Charles were forced to tie the knot in the civil service. This is where Elizabeth’s absence is important.
Waffling On Attendance
There were a few events on the itinerary for Charles and Bowles on April 9, 2005. They had a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, then received an official blessing at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The reception was held later in the day at Windsor Castle as well. Elizabeth attended some of these events, but not the civil ceremony itself. What gives?
Well, one of Elizabeth’s roles is the head of the Church of England. Since Charles and Bowles were divorcees, she didn’t want to be seen endorsing the civil service. She held her position over her family and sat out the ceremony. One can’t imagine Charles felt great about this, but it’s a testament to how seriously Elizabeth takes her jobs.
She did make sure to send the message that she endorsed the union, however. Elizabeth attended the official blessing and made a bit of a spectacle of herself at the reception. She wore a white dress to her son’s wedding, causing rumors that she forced Bowles to switch to a grey dress so they wouldn’t clash. It’s a classic faux pas to wear white to a wedding, but when you’re the Queen of England, you can kind of do whatever you want.
A Late Endorsement
Until very recently, Elizabeth kept a certain amount of distance from Bowles. Her popularity has waxed and waned over the years before cratering thanks to The Crown. In spite of that, Elizabeth just gave her a major endorsement.
In a 2022 announcement, Elizabeth revealed Bowles will become Queen Consort once her husband ascends. This should clear the way for Bowles when that time comes, and avoids a messy scandal of Charles appointing her. The new title also proves Elizabeth does care for Bowles, just not enough to wear grey to her wedding.
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