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Past Times

On This Day 1992: Princess Royal wedding blunder in Ballater

The Princess Royal was about to get married at Crathie, and a mistake in the name of her groom, Timothy Laurence, was found in the banns at Ballater registrar's office. reports.
Susy Macaulay
A mistake was found in the banns for the marriage of the Princess Royal and Commander Timothy Laurence in December, 1992.  Image: DCT/Shuttterstock
A mistake was found in the banns for the marriage of the Princess Royal and Commander Timothy Laurence in December, 1992. Image: DCT/Shuttterstock

The Princess Royal married Commander Timothy Laurence on December 12, 1992, and in the run up, the papers were full of the Royal wedding preparations.

On the day of the wedding, something clearly had to be in the paper about it to tide folk over until the pictures and full story came out the following day, so the P&J came up with a couple of good tales to feed the public’s appetite for gossip of a regal nature.

“Banns blunder over name of commander,” shouted the front page. “The Princess Royal’s bridegroom underwent a name change yesterday” —shock, gasp— “if the Ballater registrar’s was anything to go by.”

The wedding banns displaying the couple’s intention to wed originally stated that Timothy ANTHONY Hamilton Laurence would be marrying the Princess.

But after one night on the board outside the registrar’s, the commander’s name had switched to Timothy JAMES Hamilton Laurence.

Blunder admission

“It was a bit of a blunder,” said a Scottish Office spokesman.

Sparing no-one’s feelings, he went on: “We believe the papers which were sent out to the registrar were in order, but when the names were written out for display, one of the commander’s middle names was wrongly copied.”

Poor Ballater and Crathie registrar Molly Croll was understandably unavailable for comment.

The spokesman was able to reassure us that although the name was wrong, it didn’t affect the legality of the forthcoming wedding in any way.

“The error was spotted and everything has been sorted out now.”

Ah yes, but had it?

No, there was further confusion.

Another name in the ring

When Buckingham Palace was contacted to clarify the situation, a spokesman said Tim’s first middle name was JOHN.

“It was not until he was pressed and thoroughly checked his paperwork that he confirmed that it was actually James.”

Phew. The name blunders saved the media from actually scraping the bottom of the barrel for a Royal wedding story that day.

There was a good local angle for the P&J, however.

Ballater residents blow fuse over lights, declared the front page.

There had been unresolved street-light failures in the village for several weeks.

“Ballater residents are seeing red over costly Victorian street lamps put up for the royal wedding.

“Many were angry at the speed with which 15 ornate lights went up outside Crathie Church, because lights were still out in Ballater.”

Disgraceful

An ‘angry shopkeeper’ was sourced who said: “You would think we were having a royal wedding in Queen Victoria’s day. It’s disgraceful.”

And ‘a villager’ said: “We’ve been in darkness for many weeks and people are frightened to walk the streets.”

Lena Morrison (left) and Joan Petter wiating for the Royal wedding with the newly installed lighting leading to the gates of Balmoral behind them. Image: DCT

Grampian Regional Council held its hands up about the installation of the fancy streetlights illuming the royal wedding route from Balmoral to Crathie Church.

A council spokesman said the police had ordered the work, concerned about safety and security aspects.

“At 3pm, it will be getting dark and a lot of people will be in the area,” he said, clearly unconcerned about the same issue affecting in Ballater, in which the main route through the village was plunged in darkness.

The Princess Royal And Commander Timothy Laurence  leaving Crathie after their wedding. Image: Lynn Hilton/Mail On Sunday/Shutterstock.

He couldn’t give answers to why Ballater was still having street-light failures, simply attributing them to “a series of fuses.”

“Last night, parts of Ballater still remained in darkness,” reported the P&J.

There had been no shortage of Royal news that week.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (208933a)<br />Various

Only three days earlier, Prince Charles and Princess Diana had announced their separation after years of speculation.

But in those distant days one Royal couple diverting attention from another didn’t appear to spark an internecine war.

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