Prince Charles finally married the woman he's loved for 30 years in a quickie civil ceremony yesterday, followed by a regal and solemn church blessing. The prince and Camilla Parker Bowles - now Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall - tied the knot in a 20-minute civil ceremony in Windsor's town hall witnessed only by their immediate families.
Afterward, they promised to be ever faithful to one another in a no-frills - for them - 45-minute church blessing at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The 56-year-old prince, wearing traditional morning dress with a flower picked from his Highgrove country home in his lapel, did not kiss the bride, who was outfitted in a floor-length, porcelain-blue silk dress.But he did manage smiles as they emerged from the chapel. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams conducted the ceremony before 800 guests, including Charles' parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
The queen and Philip chose not to attend the civil ceremony performed by Clair Williams, a Windsor official who conducts 100 weddings a year. But Charles' brothers and sister, and his sons, William and Harry, were present, along with Parker Bowles' family.
William and Harry - also in morning dress, with heirloom tiepins given them by the queen - seemed buoyant and waved cheerfully as their father and his bride left the town hall.
It was the second wedding for both Charles and Camilla.
Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981 in a fairytale wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral, but rekindled his relationship with Parker Bowles during the marriage. He and Diana divorced in 1996, and she died in a Paris car crash the following year. Camilla divorced Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995, but clearly on better terms - he was a wedding guest yesterday.
At the church service in the 15th-century chapel, the couple knelt and said a prayer of penitence for their sins and promised to be true to each other.
As they walked down the aisle, guests curtseyed to Camilla for the first time. Officially, she's now the highest-ranking female royal after the queen.
Back in town, several thousand onlookers lined the streets, flanked by hundreds of nervous police officers.
Charles and Camilla lookalikes, joined by Ozzy Osbourne and Elton John doubles, drew laughs when they appeared in the windows of a hotel across from the castle.
There were only a few moments of trouble. A solitary streaker was grabbed by cops. In front of the town hall, two protesters unfurled a banner just as the bus carrying William, Harry and other royals arrived. "Illegal immoral shameful," it read. Police officers confiscated it quickly.
At the church service, celebrity guests included Phil Collins, Kenneth Branagh and Joan Rivers, as well as Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, who drew muffled jeers when they entered the church.
After the service, the royal couple - who will honeymoon in Scotland - spent about 15 minutes shaking hands of well-wishers who'd been allowed inside the Windsor Castle gates. Jane Yeandle, of Windsor, said Camilla looked "lovely and at peace with herself. So did he."
"I said to him, 'Don't believe what you read in newspapers, we're all very happy for you.' He said, 'I never read newspapers.'"
"They were bubbling," said Iris Dunn, who described herself as a dyed-in-the-wool royalist. "They looked so happy, that's what you want to see."
There was one uninvited guest who tried to crash Charles' and Camilla's wedding: a streaker. He didn't make it inside to the reception. Others who did included:
Joan Rivers (need we say more?)
Raghunath Medge and Sopan Mare (two dabba-wallahs or runners from Bombay's Tiffin lunchbox delivery company whom Charles met when he visited India in 1993)
Andrew Parker Bowles (Camilla's ex, who lay down his wife for his country) Rowan Atkinson (otherwise known as Mr. Bean)
His Serene Highness Prince Radu of Hohenzollern (never heard of it)
Brit Prime Minister Tony Blair (jeered by the mob, even he's an outsider in this crowd)
Sir David Frost (a touch of class at any party)
Joanna Lumley (always looking for the Bolly and the Stolly, dah-ling)
Sting's wife (Sting didn't go. What? He had something better to do?)
Kenneth Branagh (any man who can't stay married to the lovely Emma Thompson needs help)
Prince Bandar Bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia (you have that much dough, you get invited everywhere)
© Nydailynews, by Ellen Tumposky