Windsor a familiar venue for Royal weddings
PUBLISHED: 12:58 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:38 17 May 2018
Windsor has become a familiar backdrop for Royal weddings over the years.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are following in the footsteps of the Earl of Wessex and the Queen’s eldest grandson Peter Phillips by marrying in St George’s Chapel.
Even the Prince of Wales wed in Windsor the second time around - in a civil ceremony in the town’s Guildhall, followed by a blessing in St George’s.
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Harry’s father the Prince of Wales finally wed his former mistress Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 after a relationship which spanned decades.
The ceremony was due to take place in Windsor Castle, but they were forced to switch venues to the more modest local town hall around the corner.
It emerged that licensing the Castle would have allowed the public to marry there too and the publicly announced original plan was hastily dropped.
In the end, Charles and Camilla wed in a private, civil ceremony in Windsor’s Guildhall in front of just 30 guests.
But the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were not present.
The monarch’s position as Head of the Church of England made it difficult for her to attend a non-religious wedding.
However, she did join the 800 guests who witnessed Charles and Camilla’s televised, religious blessing afterwards in St George’s Chapel.
Camilla, who became an HRH and the Duchess of Cornwall on marriage, wore an oyster silk basket-weave dress and coat for her civil wedding and a porcelain blue silk coat and gold sweeping feathered head-dress for the blessing.
Both outfits were by Robinson Valentine.
The newylweds posed for photographs with the royal family afterwards on the vast west steps of St George’s, just as Harry and his new bride are certain to do.
There was no carriage procession for Charles and Camilla because of sensitivity surrounding the public’s reaction and the nation’s affection for Charles’s first wife, the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
The last royal marriage ceremony to take place in St George’s Chapel was for Harry’s cousin, Peter Phillips - son of the Princess Royal - who married Canadian Autumn Kelly in 2008.
The bride wore a gown by Sassi Holford and a tiara borrowed from her new mother-in-law, the Princess Royal.
Peter’s sister Zara raised eyebrows when her strapless bridesmaid’s dress showed off her distinctive tan lines.
Peter and Autumn left in a horse-drawn Balmoral Sociable carriage for a reception and dance at Frogmore House, Windsor, where Harry and Ms Markle are also hosting their evening celebrations.
In 1999, Harry’s uncle Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in St George’s Chapel.
Prince Edward was given the title the Earl of Wessex on the morning of his wedding and Sophie became the Countess of Wessex on marriage.
Sophie’s dress by Samantha Shaw was a V-neck, hand-dyed silk organza and silk crepe design, embellished with 325,000 pearls and crystal beads and teamed with a spotted crystal detail veil.
The wedding began at 5pm and men were asked to wear morning dress, but women evening dress without hats, to the continental-style evening service.
There was no public kiss at the televised nuptials for Edward and Sophie, whose first kiss as a married couple took place in the privacy of the Chapel’s ambulatory, where they signed the marriage register.
The reception afterwards was held in the state apartments of Windsor Castle.
Unlike Harry’s wedding, there was no military involvement. But the couple did enjoy a carriage procession through the town.
Other Windsor royal weddings
Lady Helen Windsor, the daughter of the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Kent, married Timothy Taylor at St George’s Chapel in 1992.
There was a big royal turnout and seven-year-old Prince Harry, smartly dressed in a double-breasted blazer and tie, was a guest.
Historic weddings in Windsor have included the nuptials of King Edward VII, who as the Prince of Wales married Princess Alexandra of Denmark in St George’s on March 10 1863.
His mother Queen Victoria was a guest.
Many of Victoria’s children chose to be married at Windsor, particularly during the Queen’s reclusive widowhood.
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