KEVIN Myers erred in saying that the last great royal wedding in Britain was the marriage of Diana and Charles when it was, in fact, the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
This wedding was of enormous importance, given that the heir to the throne of Britain and the next head of the Church of England was marrying a divorced woman, and one with whom he had been carrying on an affair for the duration of his marriage to Diana.
To gauge the significance of this marriage, it should be borne in mind that the queen had forbidden her sister, Princess Margaret, from marrying the divorced Peter Townsend, and that Margaret's subsequent marriage to Anthony Armstrong-Jones ended in divorce.
The queen was also the main obstacle to Prince Charles marrying the young Camilla, because of Camilla's deemed unsuitability. The young Diana was chosen, partly, because her lack of experience was deemed an advantage.
Thus, Queen Elizabeth was instrumental in preventing both her sister and her son from marrying their first choices, and must accept some responsibility for the unhappy events that unfolded in these people's lives.
Ironically, three out of her four children would divorce their first spouses. In some ways, those closest to her have paid the price for her determination to influence events.
Gearoid O Dubhain