Today marks the crystal wedding anniversary of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The relationship had been one of the most talked about in the world and the marriage ceremony itself attracted global attention. The two wed in a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall followed by a marriage blessing at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle overseen by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. It marked a new chapter in a royal love story that had more than made its mark.
Upon the marriage, it was announced that Camilla would take on the name of “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.”Embed from Getty Images
Originally, the wedding date was set for 8 April 2005 but it was postponed by a day so the Prince of Wales could represent The Queen at the funeral of Pope John Paul II. While The Queen did not attend the civil wedding ceremony, she did join the service of blessing. She also hosted a reception for the newlyweds at Windsor Castle later on that day.
Royals from around the world attended the blessing at Windsor Castle. Among them were King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece and Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. The King of Bahrain was also in attendance.
Members of the British royal family who were in attendance include the Princess Royal, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Charles’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, served as the couple’s witnesses along with Camilla’s son and daughter, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles.Embed from Getty Images
After the celebrations, the newly-married couple traveled to the Prince’s country estate in Scotland, at Birkhall on Balmoral estate for their honeymoon.
For their first public engagement following the wedding, the couple was greeted by applause as they visited Crathie Parish Church in Aberdeenshire. Their relationship has gone from strength to strength and today they mark fifteen years as husband and wife. Congratulations!
Looking back: Charles and Camilla’s relationship
1970Embed from Getty Images
Prince Charles meets Camilla Shand for the first time at a polo match in Windsor. The two start dating not long after their first meeting. In 1971, the couple parted ways as Charles joined the Royal Navy.
1973Embed from Getty Images
In July of 1973, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles, a British Army lieutenant. Parker Bowles had previously dated Prince Charles’ younger sister, Princess Anne. A former boarding school classmate of Camilla, actress Lynn Redgrave once said of Camilla:
“Landing a rich husband was the top of the agenda. Camilla wanted to have fun, but she also wanted to marry well because, in her mind, that would be the most fun of all.”
1977Embed from Getty Images
In 1977, Prince Charles meets then 16-year-old Lady Diana Spencer while he’s in a relationship with her older sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale. Charles ends his relationship with McCorquodale and starts courting Diana in 1980. According to Diana’s autobiographer Andrew Morton, the two sisters remained close despite both having a romantic relationship with the Prince.
1981Embed from Getty Images
Charles proposes to Diana on 6 February 1981 with the engagement officially being announced on 24 February. That summer, the two married on 29 July at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.Embed from Getty Images
Camilla was present at the wedding despite Diana’s wishes for her not to attend. It’s said that when Charles and Diana became engaged that they were frequent guests at the home of Camilla and Andrew. The women initially got along well but a few months before their wedding, Camilla reportedly sent Diana a note.
In the documentary Charles and Di: The Truth Behind their Wedding, the narrator Tracy-Anne Oberman claims the note was inviting Diana to lunch.
“Diana had found a surprise on her bed. It was a letter from Camilla inviting her to lunch at a private London restaurant.”
Diana agreed to lunch and Camilla reportedly told her after the wedding that she “was still hoping to spend time with Charles when he went hunting.” That notion being believed to have been Camilla’s way of being able to see Charles on his own after the royal wedding.
Despite both being in high-profile marriages, Charles and Camilla resume their longtime love affair. Camilla, not the first in her family to have a royal affair. Camilla reportedly idolized her great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, the famous mistress of Prince Charles’ great-great-grandfather, Edward VII.
According to tapes recorded by Andrew Morton as he wrote the Princess of Wales’ biography, Diana claims to have confronted Camilla at a party about her and Charles alleged affair.
The Princess recalling the moment:
“Camilla, I would just like you to know that I know exactly what is going on between you and Charles. I wasn’t born yesterday.” Camilla allegedly responded, “You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world to fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children. What more do you want?”
Diana responding, “I want my husband.”
In November 1992, the press manages to release private tapes of intimate phone conversations between Camilla and Charles. Those calls, confirming the two’s affections for one another. The incident was later deemed “Camillagate” by the tabloids. A month later, Prime Minister John Major confirms marital issues between Diana and Charles, the two announce their separation.
Two years after the separation, Charles confesses adultery in a nationally televised interview. In that interview, Charles names Camilla as his mistress. However, the Prince defends his actions saying that he did work to remain faithful to Diana, “until it became clear that the marriage had irretrievably broken down.”
In 1995, Camilla and her husband officially announce their divorce. The two are said to have been living apart for two years at the time. In a statement, they said, “There is little of common interest between us.”
At this time, Diana also confirms adultery in a BBC interview. The Princess, discussing Charles’ affair with Camilla. Famously, Diana told the interviewer, Martin Bashir:
“There were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
1997Embed from Getty Images
31 August 1997, Diana is killed in a car accident in Paris. The city of London taking to the streets to publically mourn the Princess. As for Camilla, the progress she had been making as the new woman in Charles’ life was brought to a temporary halt as the world mourned Diana.
A year after Diana’s death, Charles formally introduces Camilla to his sons. Due to Diana’s sudden death, the couple keeps their relationship out of the public eye.
1999Embed from Getty Images
The couple appears in public together for the first time at Camilla’s sister’s 50th birthday party at the Ritz Hotel in London. Charles and Camilla arrive at the event separately but are seen leaving together almost two hours later. More than 200 photographers, journalists, and fans are said to have crowded the streets to get a glimpse of the two on the rare sighting. This moment marking when the couple took their relationship from a public affair to a public romance.
Camilla begins to formally build a relationship with Charles’ sons but she has yet to formally meet Her Majesty. Unwilling to acknowledge Charles’ relationship with Camilla, the Queen refuses an invitation to Charles’ 50th birthday party due to Camilla’s presence.
In the summer of 2000, the Queen decides to attend an exclusive 60th birthday celebration for King Constantine of Greece at Highgrove, Camilla also appeared to be present at the event.
2001Embed from Getty Images
Charles and Camilla kiss in public for the first time at an event for The National Osteoporosis Society at Somerset House in London, an organisation in which Camilla serves as patron. Charles coming out to support Camilla was seen as an unfamiliar role reversal for the pair.
Camilla officially moves into Clarence House, the official residence of Prince Charles.
2005Embed from Getty Images
The two announced their engagement in February 2005. A move that sparked public controversy and difficult political decisions such as selecting the appropriate venue for the wedding ceremony. The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh did not make an appearance at the civil ceremony. But they did attend the Service of Prayer and Dedication.
Marking 10 years since Diana, the Princess of Wales’ passing, Camilla does not attend the memorial service. Though Camilla originally planned to attend, according to a People Magazine report, the Duchess chose otherwise. Releasing a statement:
“I accepted and wanted to support them, however, on reflection I believe my attendance could divert attention from the purpose of the occasion which is to focus on the life and service of Diana. I’m grateful to my husband, William, and Harry for supporting my decision.”
2012Embed from Getty Images
The Queen expresses her acceptance of her new daughter-in-law by officially giving Camilla a royal honor. Camilla is now named Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. Later that summer, Camilla accompanied the Queen on a carriage ride during one of the Diamond Jubliee event’s processionals.
2015Embed from Getty Images
Camilla and Charles celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. In honor of the occasion, Clarence House releases a photo of the couple at the Balmoral estate in Scotland. The very place where the two celebrated their honeymoon as well as their first wedding anniversary. A few months later, Camilla joins the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the 2015 Trooping the Colour ceremony.