Celebrating a Royal Wedding
Fifty years ago, the most talked-about society wedding of the season was celebrated. Captain Andrew Parker Bowles and Camilla Shand (the current Queen Camilla) exchanged vows in front of 800 guests at the Guards Chapel at Wellington Barracks in London. The bride and groom both had connections to the Royal Family. Andrew Parker Bowles’ parents were friends with the Queen Mother, he served as a page to Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation and had once courted the Princess Royal. Meanwhile, Camilla had been linked to the then Prince Charles. Now, of course, the two are married and reign as King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
The Wedding of Andrew Parker-Bowles and Camilla Shand
Andrew Parker-Bowles, a British Army officer who would go on to reach the rank of brigadier, had met Camilla in the late 1960s, though the couple announced their engagement only in 1973. On 4th July 1973, Andrew and Camilla got married with a Roman Catholic ceremony, followed by a reception at St James’s Palace. The couple’s social standing was reflected in the guest list on the day of the wedding, with the presence of the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne. Camilla wore a white dress with a cake collar, long sleeves and a ruffled hemline. On her head she wore a large white veil that swept the floor, adorned by the Cubitt-Shand tiara, sometimes called the Cubitt tiara. The sparkle of diamonds was added to Camilla’s family collection by her grandmother, Sonia Keppel Cubitt, and then passed on to her daughter Rosalind Shand (Camilla’s mother). Years later, it was worn by Camilla’s daughter Laura when she married Harry Lopes in 2006.
The Aftermath of the Wedding
Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles were married from 1973 to 1995, a period during which they lived at Middlewick House, a Grade II Georgian house in Wiltshire. Together they had two children: writer Tom Parker Bowles, who is Prince Charles’s godson, and art curator Laura Lopes. They also have five grandchildren: Lola and Freddy Parker Bowles, and Eliza, Louis and Gus Lopes. Freddy, Louis and Gus were among the eight pageboys at the coronation. In 1995, Camilla and Andrew divorced. Camilla bought a private country house called Ray Mill House in Wiltshire, 15 minutes from Prince Charles’s home, Highgrove. In 1996 Andrew remarried to Rosemary Pitman, who died in 2010 of cancer (Camilla was present at Pitman’s funeral). Camilla, meanwhile, married King Charles III (then Prince Charles) in 2005.