An affair to remember...

The lead up to the marriage of the Prince of Wales and his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker, may have been a comedy of errors, but the wedding itself on April 9 went off without a hitch

The marriage took place amidst pervasive security and enthusiastic cheers from the small crowds that gathered for the most unconventional British royal wedding of modern times.

The royal couple planned a honeymoon in Scotland, on the royal family’s Balmoral estate in Birkall.

More than 30 years after they first fell in love, after two marriages to others, two children each, an illicit affair, the catastrophic death and funeral of the late Princess Diana, and years of tears and trauma, the two were finally wed in a modest, low-key, no-frills ceremony that had to compete for media attention with a major British horse race scheduled for about the same time.

It was not the fairy-tale wedding of 1981 when Lady Diana Spencer married Charles in a spectacular ceremony celebrated by a million people on the streets and watched by 750 million around the world. But it had dignity and grace under the circumstances; guests later described it as very moving.

Never before has a future king married a divorced woman; never before has a woman married a Prince of Wales and taken a lesser title than princess.

Prince Charles and his bride, who wore an oyster silk basket-weave coat over a chiffon dress and a wide-brimmed straw hat trimmed with feathers (a symbol of the Prince of Wales), arrived on time at the Windsor Guildhall for a 25-minute civil ceremony attended only by close relatives but not the groom’s parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

The Duchess of Cornwall

Camilla Parker Bowles was born on 17 July 1947 in London. She was born Camilla Rosemary Shand, the daughter of Major Bruce and Rosalind Shand.

Camilla Shand grew up in Sussex and was educated at Queens Gate School in South Kensington and at finishing schools in Switzerland and France. Camilla met Prince Charles at a polo match in 1970. The relationship between the former Mrs Parker Bowles and Charles, Prince of Wales began in 1972, before either of them was married, but ended a year later, reportedly after the prince delayed proposing marriage. A romance began but tapered off the following year after Charles joined the Royal Navy. In 1973, Camilla married cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles, and they had two children, Thomas and Laura. The friendship between Camilla and Charles, however, endured. A few years into Charles’s marriage to Lady Diana in 1981, Charles is said to have begun an affair with Camilla. In 1994, Charles admitted to the adultery in a televised interview. Camilla has been regularly pilloried by the press as the “other women”. Camilla and her husband divorced in 1995; Charles and Diana divorced the following year. In recent years, Camilla’s loyalty to Charles and the longevity of their 25-year-long relationship has somewhat softened the public’s view of her. The Queen recognised the relationship in 2000, and Camilla moved into Charles’s residence in 2003.

Late princess

Diana Frances Spencer was born July 1, 1961, at Sandringham, Norfolk, England. Diana was born at Park House, the home that her parents rented on the estate of Queen Elizabeth II and where her childhood playmates were the Queen’s younger sons: Andrew and Edward. On the February 24, 1981 it was announced that Lady Diana Spencer was to marry the Prince of Wales. She was the first Englishwoman to marry an heir to the throne in over 300 years. They were married on July 29, 1981, at St Paul’s Cathedral, London. The marriage broke down in acrimony and with revelations of infidelity on both sides. Eleven years after her marriage and after many reports and accusations concerning marital infidelity and emotional alienation between the two, the couple were officialy separated on December 9, 1992. On August 31, 1997 — the beautiful Princess Diana was killed in a traffic accident, in Paris, France along with Dodie Fayad, her new love; and Henri Paul, the chauffer.

Prince of Wales travelled from Highgrove and Mrs Parker Bowles from Clarence House to Windsor Castle

• 12.25pm: Travel in the Queen’s claret 1962 Rolls-Royce Phantom V to Guildhall

• 12.30: Private ceremony in the Ascot Room, witnessed by 28 guests including princes William and Harry. The couple exchange wedding rings made from north Wales gold

• 12.55: The prince and new Duchess of Cornwall return to castle for the blessing

• 2.30: Service of prayer and dedication at St George’s chapel, attended by 800 guests and conducted by Archbishop of Canterbury

• 3.15: Service ends and couple are joined by the Queen and other members of royal family

• 3.20: Meet well-wishers

• 3.45: Drive to state apartments for reception given by Queen

• 5.45: Leave for honeymoon at Birkhall, the Queen Mother’s holiday home near Balmoral

Who succeeds Queen Elizabeth II to the throne won’t change after the royal wedding. Succession passes to sons and daughters, not spouses, and the couple presumably won’t have children together. Camilla Parker Bowles’ two children do not become royals by marriage.

• Prince Charles, Prince of Wales

• Prince William

• Prince Harry

• Prince Andrew, Duke of York

• Princess Beatrice

• Princess Eugenie

• Prince Edward, Earl of Essex

• Lady Louise Windsor

• Princess Anne, the Princess Royal

• Peter Phillips

• Zara Phillips