royal wedding prince charles camilla

HRH the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and The Duchess Of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles in silk dress by Robinson Valentine and head-dress by Philip Treacy, leave the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England. Tim Graham, Getty Images


By the time Great Britain's future king, Prince Charles, married his longtime love, Camilla Parker Bowles in April 2005, their once-scandalous relationship had become tacitly accepted.

Public opinion polls revealed a majority of Britons favored the marriage of the couple who met at a polo match in the 1970s and fell in love, but parted ways when the prince left for military service.

The prince's first wife, the iconic Princess Diana, had once described Parker Bowles (aka "the Rottweiler") as the third party in her "crowded" marriage. Eight years after the princess died in a Paris car crash, Prince Charles and Parker Bowles announced their engagement, sealed with an Art Deco platinum-and-diamond ring.

Despite the approval of Buckingham Palace, there were complications that made a repeat of Prince Charles' first, 1400-guest Westminster Abbey wedding inappropriate.

Parker Bowles' split from her first husband, Timothy Bowles, precluded the couple from having a sacramental wedding, as the Anglican church officially frowned on divorce. (The prince was conveniently considered a widower by the church because of Princess Diana's death.)

Then, their two-part wedding, scheduled for April 8, 2005, was postponed following the death of Pope John Paul II as Prince Charles was dispatched to attend the pontiff's funeral.

On April 9, a civil service at Windsor Hall was followed by a celebration of prayer and dedication in front of 800 guests at St. George's Chapel.

ROTA / Tim Graham Picture Library / Getty Images | Dave Hogan, Getty Images


For the two ceremonies the 57-year-old Parker Bowles wore two elegant ensembles: The first, for a civil service at Windsor Hall, was described as "flirty chiffon with a flash of lace." The cream silk dress, by the London design studio of Robinson Valentine, featured handmade woven discs which peeked from a basketweave overcoat.

The bride accessorized with a feather-trimmed straw hat overlaid with French lace by Irish milliner Phillip Treacy and carried a white, calf-leather Launer clutch. She wore her blonde highlights flipped back, in the style preferred by her new husband.

Robinson Valentine and Treacy (now collaborating with royal bride-to-be Kate Middleton) also won the sartorial honors for the St. George's Chapel blessing service.

The newlywed bride arrived on the arm of her well-suited groom wearing "something blue;" a floor-length silk gown with gold accents and a coordinating overcoat. Treacy's dramatic spray of golden-feathers tipped with crystals adorned her hair.

Her bouquet, in keeping with royal tradition, contained yellow, white and blue primroses and lilies-of-the-valley from the Queen Victoria gardens at Highgrove.

The couple did not have formal attendants, but their sons, Prince William and Tom Bowles, assumed the honors of signing the wedding registry.

Their Wartski designed wedding rings were created incorporating Welsh gold, a tradition for the Prince of Wales.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, did not attend the civil service, but were among the chapel guests. They hosted a reception afterward in the state apartments at Windsor Castle.

The duchess must have been fond of her civil wedding ensemble. Two years later, she wore it again, albeit with updated accessories, to attend an event at the National Assembly of Wales.

Parker Bowles was given the title Duchess of Cornwall, rather than the designation of princess. It is widely expected, but not certain, that she will receive the designation Her Royal Highness, the Princess Consort, when her husband takes the throne.

The Prince of Wales and his new bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with their families (L-R back row) Prince Harry, Prince William, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles (L-R front row) Duke of Edinburgh, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla's father Major Bruce Shand, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony, April 9, 2005 in Windsor, England. Hugo Burnand, Pool / Getty Images