Windsor wedding

Windsor wedding

The remarriage of divorced people can present problems in many
religions. A case in point is the planned wedding of England’s
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles scheduled for April 8.
The remarriage of divorced people can present problems in many religions. A case in point is the planned wedding of England’s Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles scheduled for April 8.

Of course, the British Royal Family had notable marital difficulties in the 16th century when King Henry VIII wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn.

One result of that effort was the establishment of the Church of England (now grown to a communion of 80 million members in national churches around the globe).

Seventy years ago, when King Edward VIII wanted to marry a divorced woman, he was forced to give up his throne in order to do so. But times, and the church’s attitude, have changed.

Since the death of Princess Diana, from whom Charles was divorced, his marital status as a widower has presented no obstacle to a church wedding.

Mrs. Parker Bowles, however, is a divorcée with a former husband still living. The Church of England allows such people to remarry in a church wedding service only upon approval of the parish priest and with the consent of a bishop.

Because many Anglicans still disapprove of the remarriage of divorced people, the couple decided to have a civil wedding ceremony in the guildhall of the town of Windsor (sort of like a “justice of the peace” wedding in an American city hall).

Then they will travel the short distance to Windsor Castle for a blessing of their union by the Archbishop of Canterbury in St. George’s Chapel.

Although details haven’t been released yet, a Service of Blessing can include prayers of penance, a blessing of wedding rings (with the couple’s hands extended), a sermon, hymns and a celebration of Holy Communion. The dedication of the couple ends with a prayer that they may have the “grace to persevere,” and a blessing over them.

Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. About an hour from central London, this magnificent complex is set on a hill and dominates the landscape.

Much more impressive than the better-known Buckingham Palace, Windsor is known to be one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite residences where she spends most of her weekends.

In 1992, a fire destroyed or damaged more than 100 rooms of the castle. To help finance its restoration, the landmark was opened to the public for tours (at a cost of about $24 per person last summer).

Visitors can walk through the State Apartments, extensive suites of rooms used for official entertaining and which are decorated with fine tapestries, porcelains and paintings. Popular with children is Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, a miniature mansion with electric lighting, running water and flushing toilets.

St. George’s Chapel, site of the royal wedding blessing, is one of the best examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in England.

Construction began in 1477 and continued for 50 years. Ten monarchs are buried there, including Henry VIII and Charles I.

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