M A I N   N E W S

Prince Charles finally weds Camilla
Queen stays away, sons attend civil ceremony
H.S. Rao

London, April 9
Britain’s Prince Charles today married his long-time sweetheart Camilla Parker Bowles, making official a relationship that endured off-and-on for more than 30 years.

Queen Elizabeth II, mother of 56-year-old Charles, did not attend the closed door civil wedding ceremony at Guildhall, 32 km from here. However, his sons from his first wife Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry, were present along with Parker Bowles’ children Tom and Laura.

With a majority of British public still bridling at accepting 57-year-old Parker Bowles as a future Queen, the wedding took place amidst heavy security at 17th century Guildhall in Windsor, a beautiful riverside town that has been home to British monarchs for a millennium.

The eldest sons of Charles and Parker Bowles, both divorcees, Prince William and Tom Parker Bowles, respectively, served as witnesses at the wedding where there were only 28 guests.

Crowds thronged the streets and cheered as Prince Charles clad in a dark morning suit and Parker Bowles wearing an oyster silk coat and chiffon dress by designers Robinson Valentine and a hat by milliner Philip Treacy drove together in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, painted in Royal claret livery, for the ceremony.

After the 20-minute civil ceremony, the couple emerged with wedding rings visible on their fingers to cheers from waiting crowds.

The wedding, which was postponed by a day due to the funeral of Pope John Paul II, took place eight years after the death of Princess Diana in an accident in 1997.

In contrast to the 1981 lavish wedding of the Prince to 20-year-old Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral, today’s ceremony was a simple affair attended by close relations and friends. Camilla divorced her husband Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995.

With the wedding over, Camilla, the eldest daughter of Major Bruce Shand, a wine merchant and Rosalind Cubitt, whose family developed most of Belgravia in London, has become the most senior female member of the Royal family after the wedding. — PTI

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