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|At Long Last: Congratulations, Charles & Camilla!|
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|Posted by:||Apr 9th 2005, 01:36:07 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Charles, Camilla Wed in Modest Ceremony
By CATHERINE McALOON, Associated Press Writer
WINDSOR, England - Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were married Saturday in a modest civil ceremony at the 17th century Guildhall, and the second marriage for each was blessed by the Church of England as the royals knelt before Archbishop of Canterbury in a majestic ceremony beneath the soaring arches of the Gothic St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The wedding capped a decades-long love affair that endured the prince's first marriage to Princess Diana and constant tabloid scrutiny.
Charles and Camilla confessed "manifold sins and wickedness" — words from the Book of Common Prayer, as Archbishop Rowan Williams blessed their union. They pledged to be faithful in their marriage, then walked from the cathedral to greet the huge crowd assembled behind police barriers on the manicured grounds of the ancient fortress, first associated with William the Conqueror, who invaded from France in 1066.
Charles and Camilla left in a black Rolls-Royce for a reception where they were greeted the 800 guests, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the castle's State Apartments.
The couple then set off for a honeymoon in a cozy Scottish hunting lodge that once belonged to the prince's grandmother. The car that sped them away had red and blue balloons attached and "Just Married" written on the back window.
Charles's mother and father, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, joined a Who's Who of Britain, representatives of governments and members of royal houses for the blessing ceremony, where women guests wore a dazzling array of hats, feathers much in favor.
After the town hall nuptials, not attended by the queen to honor the couple's desire to keep it "low key," Charles and Camilla emerged arm-in-arm to the cheers of onlookers and a jazz band playing, "Congratulations." They waved to the cheering crowd, but there was no public kiss or embrace.
Camilla now takes on Diana's previous status as Princess of Wales, although she plans to defer to public sentiment by avoiding the title and will instead be known as the Duchess of Cornwall.
When Charles takes the throne, Camilla legally will be queen, but she wishes to be known as Princess Consort — a bow to opinion polls that show 70 percent of the population opposed to Queen Camilla.
Many of the wedding guests, including Charles' sons, William and Harry, were from site to site in rented buses. Camilla's ex-husband, Andrew, also was among the fewer than 30 guests at the civil ceremony.
For the wedding ceremony, the bride wore an oyster silk basket weave coat with a herringbone stitch and a matching chiffon dress. She also wore a matching straw and lace hat with feather details.
Charles, in contrast to the military uniform he wore for his first wedding to Diana, was dressed in formal morning wear.
The hall was lined with jasmine and lily of the valley — known to symbolize the return of happiness.
The couple initially planned to wed at Windsor Castle but changed their plans because under British licensing law, registering the castle as a wedding venue would mean opening it to the weddings of commoners.
The civil ceremony was in sharp contrast to the pageantry of Charles' 1981 storybook wedding to the 20-year-old Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral.
Waving Union Jack flags or raising banners honoring Diana, crowds lining the streets of the handsome riverside town of Windsor waited in chilly sunshine for the nuptials, which were postponed so Charles could attend Friday's funeral of Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
"It's up to him who he marries," said Barbara Murray, 41, who camped overnight with her two daughters to stake out a vantage point to see the couple. "Whoever he chose wouldn't be the same as Diana."
Nearly eight years after Diana's death, some have bridled at accepting Camilla as a future queen, seeing her relationship with Charles as the reason his first marriage fell apart.
"She broke up their marriage," said Yvonne Williams, 67, who raised a banner that read: "Long live the Queen, Diana Forever: King Charles, Queen Camilla — Never."
Security was very tight. In addition to sharpshooters on rooftops, plainclothes officers moved around in the crowd, dogs sniffed for bombs, and normally unarmed police carried handguns in the streets around Windsor Castle.
Thames Valley Police, responsible for security outside the castle, had 550 officers on duty and Scotland Yard, which is in charge inside the castle, had dozens more.
On Friday, Prince Charles joined world leaders and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at the John Paul's funeral.
In keeping with tradition, Camilla spent Friday night at Clarence House, the London residence of the Prince of Wales, while Prince Charles spent the night at his country mansion in Gloucestershire, with his sons.
Camilla wore a blue jacket and smiled and waved to the assembled Saturday morning as she set out for Windsor, 20 miles west of London.
Inside Windsor Castle's gates, tents were erected for the media, while every vantage point, from private balconies to the roof of a local liquor store, was converted into a temporary broadcast location.
Hotels were fully booked, and souvenir shops were doing a brisk trade in royal wedding mugs and tea towels.
Charles met Camilla Shand more than 30 years ago and discovered they shared a common love of rural life.
Her great-grandmother Alice Keppel had a love affair with King Edward VII, Charles' great-great-grandfather. The young Camilla is said to have brought that up after meeting the prince at a polo match in the early 1970s.
"My great-grandmother was your great-great-grandfather's mistress, so how about it?" she is reported to have told the prince.
But he sailed off with the Royal Navy without cementing their relationship. In his absence, she married Andrew Parker Bowles.
In 1981, the prince married Diana, who won the nation's heart but did not hold her husband's. Charles acknowledged years later that he had broken his marriage vows after the marriage deteriorated and despite his and Diana's efforts to save it.
"There were three of us in that marriage," Diana said later — but she admitted affairs of her own.
Many Britons took Diana's view, vilifying Camilla as a royal home-wrecker.
Charles and Diana were divorced in 1996, a year after the Parker Bowles' marriage dissolved.
After Diana's death in 1997, Charles and Camilla cautiously began making their relationship public. Their first public appearance together came in 1999; the first public kiss in 2001. In February, the prince and Camilla announced that they would wed.
The wedding faced a series of obstacles, including the debate over what title Camilla would take.
Speculation later surfaced about whether the wedding would be legal. But the registrar general dismissed a series of objections and the government's chief legal adviser said there were no legal obstacles.
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Fig Tree notes:
We look forward to welcoming them back to Eleuthera, and wish them every happiness!
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