Camilla’s marriage to Charles might not be valid

Allison Yee

Royal insiders claim there would be “a riot” if the Duchess of Cornwall became Queen, but reports claim there’s an even bigger problem at play when it comes to Prince Charles’ marriage to Camilla.

Just days after Princess Diana’s trusted aide Michael Gibbins revealed there is still “deep-seated public disquiet at the way [Camilla] behaved,” there’s been scrutiny over whether Prince Charles and Camilla are legally married.

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The pair wed in 2005 following Prince Charles’ 1996 divorce from Diana, and Camilla’s split from Andrew Parker Bowles a year earlier.

However, controversy has surrounded the couple’s civil union, with legal experts saying the royal family were specifically excluded from civil marriages when the Marriage Act 1836 was enacted.

Experts argue Camilla and Charles aren't legally married. Photo: Getty

“And be it Enacted, That this Act shall extend only to England, and shall not extend to the Marriage of any of the Royal Family," the Act stated.

When Princes Charles revealed his intention to marry Camilla in 2005, the Lord Chancellor was forced to clarify the situation.

Both divorcees, Camilla and Charles tied the knot in a civil ceremony. Photo: Getty

“Civil marriages were introduced in England by the Marriage Act 1836. Section 45 said that the act 'shall not extend to the marriage of any of the royal family,’” he said at the time.

"But the provisions on civil marriage in the 1836 Act were repealed by the Marriage Act 1949.”

Clarence House further shut down reports the marriage would be invalid.

Camilla was married to Andrew Parker Bowles for 21 years. Photo: Getty

"Legal advice was taken from four different sources and all agreed that it is legal for a member of the Royal Family to marry in a civil ceremony in England," a spokesperson said.

However a BBC investigation at the time consulted experts who claimed there was no legal basis for validity.

“There is no statutory procedure whereby members of the Royal Family can marry in a register office,” said Oxford University Fellow of Legal History, Dr Stephen Cretney QC.

"Although there may be this ceremony and public rejoicing, it could be the Prince of Wales is not married and Mrs Parker Bowles is not his wife and constitutionally it's important to know whether they are married or not."

Royal insiders say the public haven't forgiven Camilla for her role in Charles and Diana's relationship. Photo: Getty

While there’s no real clarification on the matter, it seems like Prince Charles and Camilla will have their work cut out for them if the Queen does decide to abdicate.

“I’ve absolutely no doubt that Charles will be King. He’s waited for it for God knows how long and he wants it,” Michael told The Sun.

“Whether Camilla will be consort or Queen - I would think there’d be a riot if they suggested she should be Queen.”

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