On Thursday, part two of season six of Netflix’s The Crown will premiere; we know it will run up until 2005 and will feature the wedding of then-Prince Charles to then-Camilla Parker Bowles, which took place that April.
After initially meeting and falling for one another in the 1970s, both married other people—he, Princess Diana; she, Andrew Parker-Bowles—but at some point in the 1980s resumed their love affair, which lasted into the 1990s and both Charles and Camilla’s respective divorces. Eight years after Diana’s death in a Parisian car crash in 1997 (which was covered in part one of season six), Charles and Camilla finally married on April 9, 2005, in a civil ceremony held in the Windsor Guildhall, followed by a marital blessing in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Because both Charles and Camilla had been divorced, the couple opted for a civil ceremony rather than a church service, The Independent reports; in doing so, Charles became the first British royal to marry in a civil ceremony. Though she greatly supported Camilla at the end of her life—even encouraging the public to refer to her as “Queen Consort” on what would become her final Accession Day on February 6, 2022—originally Queen Elizabeth was not a supporter of hers and did not attend Charles and Camilla’s wedding. Her late Majesty’s husband, Prince Philip, was also not in attendance; Charles’ sons Prince William and Prince Harry did attend, however, as a show of support for their father.
After it was announced in February 2005 that Charles and Camilla were to be married in two months’ time, Buckingham Palace released a statement that the late Queen would not be in attendance because of her role as head of the Church of England, which discourages divorce. (Enter into the conversation Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend.) “Because the Queen didn’t want to be seen as going against her royal duties, she instead attended the religious service at St. George’s Chapel after the civil ceremony,” The Independent reports.
“The Queen decided not to attend the civil ceremony at Windsor’s Guildhall because the couple wanted to keep the ceremony low-key and her presence would not allow that to happen,” a Palace spokesman told CNN back in 2005. Though she didn’t attend the civil ceremony, her attendance at the religious service was a show of love for her eldest son, and she also hosted a reception for the newlyweds at Windsor Castle later that same day.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, issued a statement at the time clarifying that the arrangements were “consistent with Church of England guidelines concerning remarriage,” which Charles had fully accepted “as a committed Anglican” to the church.
At the time, The Telegraph reported that the Queen disapproved of the wedding venue, Windsor Guildhall, because she didn’t want to attend a humiliating “town hall” service. But it wasn’t the location that was the issue, a senior royal aide said: “The venue was never the issue for the Queen,” they said. “The civil nature of the service was the issue. She did not feel it was appropriate for her to attend.”
In September, Netflix teased that the final installment of season six—which doubles as the final installment of the series, period—would show the wedding at St. George’s Chapel, writing on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) “After six seasons, seven years, and three casts, The Crown comes to an end later this year. Here’s a hint at what’s to come in our final season,” read a message written alongside a photo of the program for the royal wedding of Charles and Camilla.