The eighties and nineties were definitely a very controversial time in royal history; however, at first, few know that some of the greatest scandals were just cooking behind closed doors. In 1981, the UK and the world were excited and hopeful about the future of the British monarchy as Charles, the heir to the Crown was about to marry a beautiful and delightful woman, Princess Diana.
Like the people, Diana was happy and excited about this new phase in her life, but soon she would discover that the fairy tale she thought she was living was just that, a fake story made for the audience. As we all know now, King Charles had always been in love with Camilla Parker, but either because there was a plot against their relationship or not, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles, and Charles had to succumb to his parents, the Institution, and the people’s wishes for him to marry soon.
It is not clear (there are many versions) when Charles and Camilla rekindled their relationship. Some claim they were already together when he started dating Princess Diana, while his official autobiography claims it happened five years after the majestic royal wedding. Either way, Diana wasn’t very happy about Camilla’s attendance at her big day. Proof of that is how vividly she recalls seeing Camilla among the crowd while she was walking down the aisle. She even remembers exactly what she was wearing!
Princess Diana ‘distracted’ by Camilla Parker-Bowles at wedding https://t.co/wFDot4Dvxd pic.twitter.com/zEaKNnvQCR
— kellyman (@kelie003) March 3, 2020
Did Camilla Wore White to Charles and Diana’s Wedding?
There are very few photos capturing Camilla hidden in the huge crowd of St. Paul’s Cathedral. However, in the few pics out there, it can be seen that the now-Queen Consort is wearing a white ensemble and a matching pillbox hat. Some have argued that the ensemble wasn’t white but a very pale gray dress.
Even if we go back to Diana’s impression of the matter, in her approved biography Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, she recalls: “So walking down the aisle, I spotted Camilla, pale grey, veiled pillbox hat.” However, considering what we know now, we could say that wearing such a light color is still quite a bold move that clearly made the newly-wed bride pretty upset.
On the other hand, if we put ourselves on Camilla’s side, it’s not hard to guess that being invited to the wedding of the love of your life, must’ve been quite a hard moment. Making this daring clothing selection might’ve been a way to ease her peace, at least for a moment.
The Queen wore white to #Charles and #Camilla’s wedding. #epic #QueenElizabeth pic.twitter.com/Y1Ed7471ke
— Maryquitecontrary (@librariansop) January 21, 2023
What the Royal Protocol Dictates on Wearing White?
Now, of course, for us commoners, the fact that someone wears white (or a very similar color) to a wedding is seen as outrageous, but what does royal protocol dictate? As you might know, the tradition of brides wearing white dates back to the one and only Queen Victoria, who chose that color for her own wedding to Prince Albert to stand out.
Since then, brides have followed suit, and the color has proven to be effective to make the bride the center of attention. Bearing that in mind, the royal protocol also mandates that no one other than the bride should wear white. However, as we’ve seen in other Royal Weddings, this rule has been broken a couple of times.
For instance, in Prince William and Kate‘s wedding in 2011, Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton wore a very tight and gorgeous white gown as part of her sister’s procession. Naturally, this might be understood as she served as sort of a page to Kate’s wedding party while walking the aisle of Westminster Abbey.
The other example is Camilla and Charles’ wedding in 2005. Although the now King and Queen didn’t have a majestic wedding like other members of the royal family, they did have a simple service to share their vows. Queen Elizabeth, refused to attend the official wedding but did attend the service wearing one of her characteristic matching outfits in a very bright white hue.
In conclusion, no; no one other than the Queen herself, who would still stand out before anyone in a room, or one of the bridesmaids can wear white to a wedding. It’s seen as a move of poor taste and even as an insult to the couple. So, even if Camilla didn’t really wear a white outfit it was still pale enough to be seen as tacky and offensive. Still, I think Diana wasn’t upset precisely about her color choice but her attendance per se.