It was a world away from the last wedding Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall attended.But the same sense of joy and celebration hung in the air. The royal couple were the guests of honour at the Cotswolds nuptials of multi-millionaire entrepreneur Ben Elliot, 35, who is the son of Camilla's sister Annabel.
Despite the royal presence, it was a surprisingly relaxed country affair, when Ben, one of the founding partners of Quintessentially, a global concierge service to the rich and powerful, tied the knot with Mary-Clare Winwood, the daughter of musician Steve Winwood. Some 6ft 3in tall with blue eyes and bags of charisma, Ben has a Blackberry full of contacts like Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum, millionaire MP Zac Goldsmith, who all turned out to wish him well.
And he's known the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since their university days, meaning that he had a coveted invite to the nuptials of the century. Ben describes William and Kate as a "magnificent couple" with "good souls, good manners and good hearts". Sadly, they couldn't be there.But the Prince's father and stepmother admirably represented the family and looked thrilled to be sharing in the big day. Charles thoroughly enjoyed himself. The heir to the throne joked with villagers at the gate to the church asking: "Is this the queue?" and told Camilla: "Silly girl!" as she held onto her hat when a gust of wind threatened to blow it off her head. Fellow guests included Camilla's two children Tom Parker Bowles – who was best man, returning the favour Ben did him at his wedding to fashion writer Sara Buys – and Camilla's daughter Laura Lopes.