Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Queen Elizabeth's real reaction to King Charles and Queen Camilla's wedding day

Royal butler Grant Harrold discussed the "biggest misconception" about the late Queen's attendance

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles walk ahead of Queen Elizabeth II on their wedding day
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
9 April 2024
Share this:

From an outside perspective, the late Queen Elizabeth II had a balanced approach to King Charles and Queen Camilla's royal wedding on 9 April 2005

By boycotting the civil ceremony but attending the religious blessing and the reception, she both upheld her role as the head of the Church of England, which did not agree with divorcées remarrying, and celebrated her son's happiness. But what did the late monarch really think about Charles and Camilla's union behind closed doors?

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla leave the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005© Getty
The couple got married on 9 April 2005

Former royal butler Grant Harrold, who worked for King Charles for seven years, was one of the few lucky guests invited to the intimate wedding. On Charles and Camilla's anniversary, he has recalled "the biggest misconception" about the Queen's attendance, and her secret "olive branch" to the newlyweds.

Charles and Camilla at their civil marriage ceremony© Getty
Charles and Camilla had a civil marriage ceremony since they had both been previously married

"The Queen didn’t go to the actual Guildhall and the reason for that, we’re talking about 20 odd years ago, and back then, Charles was a divorcee marrying a catholic - all the things that have lost monarchy in the past, so possibly the Queen felt that being a traditionalist, she didn’t want to be at the blessing for personal reasons because her faith was very strong. She certainly was at the blessing at St George’s Chapel," he began in an interview with Guides For Bride, before reiterating that she ensured her son knew he had her blessing.

"The biggest misconception about the wedding is that the Queen didn’t enjoy it or wasn’t supportive, it’s complete nonsense. There was talk about whether she would attend the service but her appearance at the reception was a joyful one. Her attendance and speech would have been seen as an olive branch to Charles and Camilla. Her blessing of the marriage. The royals don’t do things lightly and she would have not attended if she hadn’t been happy to," he said.

While photos show the groom's mother smiling with Charles and Camilla, the details of their drinks reception at St George’s Hall remained largely private. Sharing an insight into the celebrations, Grant described the Queen as "very funny."

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth wore a white coat dress to the wedding of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in 2005
© Getty
Queen Elizabeth joined Prince Charles and his wife Camilla for their religious blessing in 2005

"She gave a speech at the reception, which was seen as a big sign of her approval of the marriage. The Queen was amazing at the wedding, she gave a very funny speech, she was really happy as was Prince Philip. I can’t remember her exact words but she was funny. She compared their relationship to a Grand National horse race. She was a great comedian and had a way with words," he said.

The butler painted a picture of a surprisingly normal wedding, complete with special moments between the groom and his mother and "a real party atmosphere" for the guests.

“Charles was grinning ear to ear the whole day. He was so happy," said Grant, adding: "One of my fondest memories is the Queen gathering outside with friends and family to wave the newlyweds off in the car. She was waving and smiling excitedly. She looked like any other proud mother."

The couple – who had previously been married to Andrew Parker Bowles and the late Princess Diana – announced their engagement on 10 February 2005. 

The Queen attended Charles and Camilla's marriage blessing© Getty
Royal butler Grant Harrold revealed the late Queen made a funny speech at the reception

Buckingham Palace had revealed their plans to marry just two months later on 8 April, but it was postponed by a day so Charles could travel to Vatican City to represent his mother at Pope John Paul II's funeral.

2024 marks the couple's 19th wedding anniversary, but they will likely celebrate the occasion privately. 

The date is set to be tinged with sadness, as it not only marks the first time Charles hasn't been in full health, following his cancer diagnosis in February, but also the third anniversary of his father Prince Philip's death. The late Duke of Edinburgh died on 9 April 9 2021 at the age of 99 following a 73-year marriage with Queen Elizabeth II.

READ: Mike Tindall refused Princess Anne's one request before his wedding to Zara Tindall

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Weddings

See more