The Church of England recognized the divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales. The Church understands and accepts the civil law allowing divorce, and it recognizes "that when marriages break down the civil law must deal with the consequences of that breakdown." In the eyes of the Church of England, the Prince of Wales's first marriage ended in divorce. The Church of England does not recognize the Prince of Wales as a widower.
Divorced persons can remarry in the Church of England, but it depends of "the prerogative of the parish priest."
In the past two decades, many parish priests in the Church of England have performed marriages of divorced persons, even with former spouses still living. Marriages that take place in Anglican Churches are registered with the civil authorities.
It remains possible for Charles and Camilla to find an Anglican priest to marry them. They also could go to Scotland and have a Presbyterian wedding. The Church of England does make exceptions for the remarriage of a divorced person if the former spouse is still alive. One assumes that an exception could be made for Camilla because her husband is not Anglican, and he has already remarried in a civil marriage (which the Anglican church recognizes as a legal marriage.) The requirements set out by the Anglican church allow for the individual priests to make the decision to perform a marriage where bride or groom or both are divorced and having living former spouses.
It can be assumed that Charles understood that many - including the media - would criticize remarriage in the church, even though there were priests willing to perform the service. His position and profile made it difficult for Charles to enjoy the same opportunities that a commoner would have in the same situation. In the end, Charles and Camilla were married in a civil ceremony, which was followed by the Service of Blessing on their marriage. This service took place in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and the officiant was none other than the Archbishop of Canterbury.
There are no laws that prevent a divorced person from succeeding to the throne, or being crowned. George I, a divorced Lutheran, was crowned King.
The Church of England recognizes civil marriages. Members of the Church of England, who married in civil ceremonies, can have their civil weddings blessed in a ceremony entitled "Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage." It is more commonly called a Service of Blessing. This is what the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall had following their civil wedding in Windsor.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are legally married in the eyes of the Anglican church, and both are full communicants.
Anglicans do not have their marriages annulled in order to be remarried in a religious ceremony. Divorced Anglicans can marry in other churches, such as the Church of Scotland. The Anglican church recognizes such marriages. The Princess Royal, a divorced woman, married Timothy Lawrence in the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), even though both she and her husband are baptized members of the Church of England.
The Church of England is one of a number of churches that are members of the Anglican communion. The U.S. Episcopal Church is also a member of the Anglican Communion, and this church largely allows remarriage of divorced persons following a civil divorce and permission from the local bishop.
There is no process of annulment within the Church of England. The only person who would need an annulment to remarry in the Catholic Church is the Duchess of Cornwall's former husband, Andrew Parker Bowles.
Parker Bowles is a Roman Catholic. His first marriage to Camilla Shand was according to the rites of the Roman Catholic church, although an Anglican priest also took part. Camilla has always been Anglican. Their two children, Tom and Laura, were baptised into the Roman Catholic church, but both married in Anglican ceremonies. Andrew and Camilla's grandchildren have been baptised as Anglicans.
In 1996, Andrew married Rosemary Pitman, with whom he had been involved for some years. They had a civil marriage, as Andrew and Rosemary are both divorced. Andrew Parker Bowles has not sought an annulment for his first marriage.
Camilla has chosen to be styled as the Duchess of Cornwall, even though she is also legally the Princess of Wales. It will take an Act of Parliament to deny her the title and rank of Queen Consort.