Why Duchess Camilla almost couldn't marry Prince Charles

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, known as the Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland, visits Nairn Book and Arts Festival
(Image credit: Photo by Jane Barlow - Pool / Getty Images)

Duchess Camilla reportedly left her loved ones concerned that she might not be able to walk down the aisle to marry Prince Charles for a very significant reason.

Duchess Camilla and Prince Charles have been happily married for 16 years now, but it’s been suggested that their wedding day almost didn’t go ahead as planned. The royal couple are senior members of The Firm and with Charles first in line to the throne, they often attend important royal engagements. However, perhaps one of the biggest moments in their lives reportedly very nearly went awry after the Duchess fell ill the week of the couple’s wedding.

Their big day took place in April 2005 and there were supposedly concerns amongst Camilla’s loved ones that she might not be able to walk down the aisle. As reported by Vanity Fair, royal author Penny Junor documented Camilla's journey to her and Charles’ wedding day.

According to the publication, Penny claimed Camilla was “actually not well on the day of her wedding”. 

The Prince of Wales and his new bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle

“All that week she had been at Ray Mill—the house in Wiltshire she bought in 1995 after her divorce—suffering from sinusitis,” Penny alleged, before going on to reveal that several friends came to pay Camilla a visit. 

The royal author added that Lucia Santa Cruz, who had introduced Camilla to Charles all those years before, described her friend as “really ill” and “stressed” at the time. And when the big day arrived, it seems that the now-Duchess of Cornwall wasn’t feeling much better.

“On the day itself it took four people to coax Camilla out of bed,” Penny shared. “She’d spent Friday night at Clarence House with her sister, Annabel, and her daughter, Laura. She still wasn’t feeling well, but now it was nerves more than sinusitis that kept her under the covers. She was terrified.”

Prince Charles and The Duchess Of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles attend the Service of Prayer and Dedication following their marriage

“She literally couldn’t get out of bed,” Lucia reportedly explained. It’s also been suggested that Camilla’s sister said she would "get into [her] clothes", with Penny adding, “Only at that point did the bride-to-be get up.”

Though Duchess Camilla might not have been feeling completely better on her wedding day, she looked stunning and happy as she posed for pictures with her new husband Prince Charles after their marriage. 

The couple tied the knot in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, which was followed by a blessing at St George’s Chapel Windsor. This was not only the same venue where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding was held in 2018, but where Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank married too.  

Prince of Wales and his new bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with their children (L-R) Prince Harry, Prince William, Laura Parker Bowles and Tom Parker Bowles, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle

Both Prince Harry and Prince William attended Charles and Camilla's wedding, as did Camilla’s children Tom and Laura Parker Bowles.

Following the couple's marriage, it was announced that Duchess Camilla will become Princess Consort, rather than Queen, when Prince Charles ascends to the throne in the future. 

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.