Answers to Your Questions on the Royals

ByABC News
April 8, 2005, 4:54 PM

April 8, 2005 — -- users wrote in with many questions about Prince Charles' wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles and the situation in Monaco following the death of Prince Rainier III. There were too many questions to list them all. Andra Varin, who covers the royals for, provides answers below to some of the questions that came up most often.

Charles and Camilla

Giannina in Huntsville, Ala., writes: Why in heaven's name didn't Charles marry Camilla 35 years ago? This is so stupid. and why did Camilla want Charles to marry Diana. What gives there? Diana would roll over in her grave if the rottweiler ever becomes queen. I will too!

Answer: The big reason Prince Charles and Camilla Shand, as she was then known, didn't get married in the early 1970s: He never asked her.

And there are probably a number of reasons for that. In his early 20s, like many other young men, Charles simply wasn't ready for marriage. Not long after he met Camilla, Charles went off to serve in the navy. Camilla probably thought she could wait around forever without ever getting a proposal from the prince. When Andrew Parker Bowles, a dashing cavalry officer, proposed to her, Camilla was happy to accept.

Although she later resumed her relationship with Charles, Camilla knew he would one day have to marry a young woman of aristocratic, if not royal, birth and impeccable reputation and produce royal heirs. She reportedly thought "Shy Di," as the papers dubbed Lady Diana Spencer, would fit the bill -- but not pose a threat to Camilla's hold on the prince.

Greg in Orlando, Fla., writes: In 1936 King Edward VIII wanted to marry the divorced Wallis Simpson. The crisis which followed compelled him to abdicate in order to marry her. Yet, currently, unidentified MPs say constitutionally, divorced Camilla would become queen automatically, even if she and Charles entered into a morganatic marriage. What has changed between then and now?

Answer: What's changed? Society. In 1936, divorce carried a stigma that's hard to grasp today. People who had been divorced -- even if they were the "innocent" party -- were not received at court. In some circles, to get a divorce was tantamount to social suicide.

And as society has changed, the Church of England's stance has softened somewhat. It now allows a divorced person to be remarried in the church under certain circumstances. Charles and Camilla don't meet the requirements, so they are having a civil ceremony. But the church's highest prelate, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, plans to bless their marriage after the civil ceremony. When Edward VIII fell for Wallis, and later when Princess Margaret wanted to marry the divorced Group Capt. Peter Townsend, the archbishop at the time did not approve.

Finally, morganatic marriage never really caught on in England. And when these marriages did occur in European royal families, they usually were problematic. In a morganatic marriage, a person of royal or noble rank was allowed to marry someone of inferior rank, but that person couldn't share the title, and any children of the marriage, although legitimate, couldn't inherit. The Battenbergs -- the family of Prince Philip's mother (they later anglicized it to Mountbatten) -- were descended from a morganatic marriage, and in the 19th century other royals sometimes sneered at them as half-breeds.

So Charles and Camilla are getting married, period. Nothing morganatic about it. So there's no legal reason why Camilla Parker Bowles could be denied Prince Charles' titles once she becomes his wife. She's said she wants to be known as Duchess of Cornwall, not Princess of Wales, but both titles will automatically be hers, whether she chooses to use them or not.

Haimatbruecke in Denmark writes: I like to know the birthday of Camilla.

Answer: Camilla Parker Bowles, née Shand, was born July 17, 1947. Prince Charles was born Nov. 14, 1948. Although Camilla has often been portrayed as much older or as a "maternal" figure for Charles, she is just a year and a half older than he is. That's not very motherly.

Cathy asks: If Diana were still alive, could Charles remarry? In a church?