Charles and Camilla wed in a civil ceremony 17 years ago, finally cementing their relationship after decades of tumult. Their romance was controversial because it arose in the early Nineties that they had had an extramarital affair while both married to other people ‒ Charles to Princess Diana, and Camilla to Andrew Parker Bowles. Camilla was blamed for the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage and therefore endured a lot of negative criticism from both the public and the press.
Their wedding was the first large-scale event with Camilla at the center of royal life and the Duchess was nervous of the potential public opinions.
Speaking during the 2021 Channel 5 documentary, ‘Charles and Camilla: King and Queen in Waiting’, current affairs commentator Carole Malone said: “She [Camilla] what terrified no one would come. She was terrified she’d be booed.”
Ms Malone recalled the big day: “I remember seeing film footage at the time, it was about 6am, and there was no one on the streets of Windsor. It was freezing as well, it was a really, really cold day.
“As a journalist, I was looking at it and thinking the only reaction to this is going to be national apathy, which is kind of almost as bad as protest.”
JUST IN: Queen ‘will remain’ head of state after Scottish independence, Ian Blackford says
However, Camilla had no need to fear the public’s reaction.
Ms Malone continued: “By 10.30am the streets were thronging with people.”
Camilla and Charles were joined for the ceremony by Prince William, Prince Harry, Camilla’s children and a few friends.
As head of the Church of England, the Queen did not feel as though she could attend, but she did join the royal couple in St George’s Chapel afterwards.
Robert Jobson, a royal journalist, said: “I think people really, at that time thought, well why shouldn’t these two, who were the picture of happiness, who had this long, long love affair, on and off over many years , why shouldn’t they find happiness.”
At the time of their wedding, Clarence House announced Camilla would be known as ‘Princess Consort’ once Charles ascended to the throne.
The policy was said to be a mark of respect to Princess Diana, whose death eight years earlier triggered an outpouring of public mourning.
However, Queen Elizabeth II recently expressed her desire for Camilla to be Queen at the point Charles becomes King.
Queen leaves Buckingham Palace for good! Monarch in major move driven by ‘Philip memories’ [LATEST]
Palace ‘utterly bizarre’ for not replacing Harry and Andrew as Counselors of State [INSIGHT]
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘over-extended’ themselves with Spotify and Netflix deals [ANALYSIS]
In a message to the nation to mark Accession Day, and the start of her Jubilee year, Her Majesty wrote: “I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support.
“I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.
“And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
Prince Charles described it as a deep honor for both him and his “darling wife”.
Once dubbed the ‘most hated woman in Britain’, Camilla has come a long way as a member of the Royal Family and has seemingly won over a wary public.
She has championed her own causes and interests, including helping victims of domestic abuse.
The Duchess has also been outspoken on the issue of sexual violence against women.
In a speech in London last year, she mentioned the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, and called for men to also be “on board” with tackling a culture of sexual violence.
Speaking on an episode of Woman’s Hour last week, Camilla said she would continue to give a voice to the victims of abuse as Queen Consort.
She said: “I hope I shall be doing it for a lifetime.”