Why didn't Queen Elizabeth go to Charles and Camilla's wedding?

Despite being the mother of the groom, Queen Elizabeth didn't attend Charles and Camilla's wedding

King Charles and Camilla leaving their wedding service
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The late Queen Elizabeth II was notably absent from the royal event in 2005, leaving royal fans wanting to know why the Queen didn't go to Charles and Camilla's wedding. 

When King Charles married Queen Camilla in April 2005, the wedding ceremony was attended by the royals' nearest and dearest (including Prince William and Prince Harry), as well as several A-listers - such as Joanna Lumley and Richard E. Grant. But two of the people most important to the happy couple were missing - Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. 

And while the special day might not be as well remembered by the public as the moment where Charles and Diana got married - which took place with much more fanfare - the arrival of The Crown season six has many asking new questions about the event. Princess Diana's death might be an integral part of the latest season, but Charles and Camilla's wedding is another key moment in the latest instalment of the Netflix show. And viewers might be wondering why the Queen didn't go to Charles and Camilla's wedding. 

Why didn't the Queen go to Charles and Camilla's wedding?

It is believed that the Queen didn't go to Charles and Camilla's wedding because the Church of England does not encourage divorce. As both Charles and Camilla had been divorced, the Queen, in her role as head of the Church of England, could not be seen to go against this. 

It is for this reason that Charles and Camilla had a civil ceremony instead of a wedding in a church. And while the Queen did not attend this event, she did go to the blessing at St George's Chapel afterward.

The Queen walking behind Charles and Camilla on their wedding day

(Image credit: Getty Images)

At the time, there was much speculation among the public that the Queen was unhappy with the location of the wedding, Windsor Guildhall, as well as the bride, which was only fuelled by the news that she wouldn't be attending.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: "The Queen will not be attending the civil ceremony because she is aware that the prince and Mrs Parker Bowles wanted to keep the occasion low-key.

"The Queen and the rest of the royal family will, of course, be going to the service of dedication at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

"She is very pleased to be giving the wedding reception at the castle."

Meanwhile, a senior royal aide told The Telegraph, "The venue was never the issue for the Queen. The civil nature of the service is the issue. She did not feel it was appropriate for her to attend."

Originally, the wedding ceremony was also planned for Windsor Castle, until it was revealed that the castle would have to be licensed for Camilla to marry there because she was considered to be a 'commoner'. 

Camilla and the late Queen Elizabeth sat in a carriage

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Around the same time, there was much speculation that the Queen didn't approve of Camilla, reportedly calling her 'that wicked woman', according to journalist Tom Bower. [maybe insert the title of his book to mention to reference this and link through to the book via bookshop]

But in the following years the late monarch and the now Queen Camilla became closer. And in 2022, Queen Elizabeth announced that she would like her daughter-in-law to become Queen Consort when Charles took over the throne.

She said,  "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."

Did Prince Philip go to Charles and Camilla's wedding?

Prince Philip did not go to Charles and Camilla's wedding, but, just like the late Queen, he was present at the blessing at St George's chapel. 

In addition, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh held a reception for the newlyweds at Windsor Castle on their day of their wedding, which many took as a marker that they approved on the union. 

A portrait of the riyal family on Charles and Camilla's wedding day

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Did the Queen not want Charles to marry Camilla?

The Queen gave Charles and Camilla her blessing to get married before their engagement. She first met Camilla in 2000, at a 60th birthday party for King Constantine, the former King of Greece.

The event marked a step forward for the royal family, as the Queen had reportedly refused to meet Camilla until then - even turning down an invitation to Charles' 50th birthday party because Camilla would be in attendance, according to the BBC

Charles and Camilla had first met in 1970, and though they were reportedly taken with each other from the beginning, Camilla was not seen as a suitable match because of her dating history. Charles' godmother, Patricia, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, once told biographer Gyles Brandreth that the marriage "wouldn't have been possible, not then. Camilla had a ‘history’ - and you didn't want a past that hung about."

However, by the time they married, it seems this view was not one held by the late Queen Elizabeth. During a speech on Charles and Camilla's wedding day, she is reported to have compared their love story to the Grand National, saying, "They have overcome Becher's Brook and The Chair and all kinds of other terrible obstacles. They have come through and I'm very proud and wish them well. My son is home and dry with the woman he loves."

If you want to know more about the events that inspired The Crown, we've revealed the true story behind 'Camillagate', as well as how Dodi and Diana met and who Dodi Fayed's girlfriend was before Diana

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.