Everything That Went Wrong At King Charles And Camilla's Wedding

The term "fairy-tale wedding" is frequently used, but — like many things in real life — weddings are often accompanied by difficulties. Royal weddings can be just as prone to mishap as any other, like the numerous ways King Charles' 1981 wedding to Princess Diana didn't go as planned. Although it was a second marriage for both, Charles and Queen Camilla's 2005 wedding had its own unique set of complications.

Just getting to the big day was challenging. In 1993, an intimate phone conversation exposed Charles and Camilla's affair, ending their marriages, and causing a PR nightmare. Their bond remained steadfast but unpopular in the eyes of a public who revered the late Princess Diana. In 2002, Queen Elizabeth wanted Charles' private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, to try to end Charles and Camilla's relationship. Instead, Peat went the opposite route, persuading all concerned that their marriage would benefit the monarchy's future. According to Tina Brown's "The Palace Papers," Charles' communications secretary Paddy Haverson was also supportive, commenting, "They were fantastic together — funny — and she was so good for him, you could tell" (per The Telegraph).

Charles and Camilla announced their engagement on February 10, 2005, with an April 8 wedding date that same year. Queen Elizabeth declared her approval with a Buckingham Palace announcement: "The Duke of Edinburgh and I are very happy that the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Parker Bowles are to marry," per The Guardian. But even though the path to matrimony was now smooth, the actual wedding day wasn't stress-free.

Charles and Camilla couldn't get married at Windsor Castle

For their engagement announcement, King Charles and Queen Camilla declared their intention to marry at Windsor Castle. In 2002, The Church of England changed its policy on divorced people remarrying, with second marriages now subject to the preferences of individual ministers. Even so, as the future head of the church once he became king, and with a poll at the time showing only 32% of people on board with the upcoming wedding, it's possible these circumstances led Charles and Camilla to opt for a civil ceremony.

However, because of this decision, the couple quickly discovered that Windsor Castle wasn't going to work. A civil ceremony requires a licensed venue. Although Windsor Castle could have become licensed, it would have also become a public wedding venue for three years. Rather than risk having the castle become a new wedding hot spot, Charles and Camilla changed plans and chose the Windsor Guildhall, a historic building in the nearby town.

For part two of their big day, Charles and Camilla did go to Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel where the Archbishop of Canterbury presided over a special blessing for the couple. While she skipped part one of the festivities, Queen Elizabeth attended the blessing. This choice was not out of ill-feeling for Charles and Camilla. Elizabeth felt attending a civil ceremony conflicted with her role as head of the church, and she was dismayed that media coverage at the time falsely depicted her reasons. 

The wedding date changed due to a pope's funeral

While King Charles and Queen Camilla originally set their ceremony for Friday, April 8, 2005, they ended up getting married a day later on Saturday, April 9. On April 2, Pope John Paul II died, and his televised funeral service was scheduled for the same day as Charles and Camilla's wedding. A massive number of world leaders planned to be at the pope's service, and Queen Elizabeth wanted Charles to attend the funeral on behalf of the crown, so he and Camilla postponed their ceremony. Camilla also accompanied her husband-to-be to the pope's funeral. 

This last-minute date change also resulted in increased stress for royal florist Simon Lycett and his team. The 24-hour delay meant, "There was a bit of a white-knuckle ride to try and make sure that everybody was keeping everything fresh and perfect," Lycett informed Hello! in 2018.

However, despite the disruption of having to reschedule, one silver lining was that some of the Pope's funeral attendees also went to Charles and Camilla's wedding. In addition, a major horse racing event changed its start time to accommodate the couple. Since the blessing part of the ceremony was on TV, the Grand National was delayed, so people could also watch the royal wedding. This was convenient for Queen Elizabeth, as the stalwart racing fan tuned in to the event immediately after the blessing concluded.  

Camilla was feeling ill and scared, and had two different shoes

In the days leading up to her wedding, Queen Camilla was under the weather with sinusitis and relying on the home remedy of chicken soup. By the morning of her wedding day, Camilla still hadn't recovered, and she was also struggling with substantial feelings of anxiety. To escape the situation, Camilla wanted to stay in bed. However, her sister Annabel, with whom Camilla has a close relationship, diffused the situation. According to Penny Junor's book, "The Duchess," Annabel replied, "O.K., that's all right. I'm going to do it for you. I'm going to get into your clothes" (per Vanity Fair). This comment was the catalyst Camilla needed to get dressed and ready on her own.

However, Camilla could have benefited from a second opinion on her attire, as she discovered a wardrobe mistake after she was en route to Windsor. "For some unknown reason, I put on a pair of shoes, and one had an inch heel and one had a two-inch heel. So, I mean, talk about hop-along!" Camilla recalled in 2022 (per Newsweek). Fortunately, Queen Elizabeth used her surprising sense of humor to help her soon-to-be daughter-in-law feel better. "[The queen] could see it, and she laughed about it and just said, 'I'm terribly sorry,'" Camilla added. This levity provided much-needed stress relief, and fortunately, Camilla was able to substitute her shoes for a matched pair so she didn't have to endure discomfort during the wedding.