All senior members of the Royal Family, except the Queen and Prince Philip, are to attend the Prince of Wales's civil marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles, it was announced on 24th March and reported in the Telegraph, fuelling speculation over the official reason given for the Queen's absence.
Should we believe reports, circulating from 27th February, that the Queen has "distanced" herself from the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Camilla Parker Bowles because she believes that her son is putting personal gratification before duty? As the law requires him to ask the Queen’s permission to marry did she make a mistake in giving that permission?
However, on 2nd April the Telegraph reported that the Queen had let it be known that the reason she would not be attending the wedding of the Prince of Wales was because she was putting her duties as the head of the Church of England before family feelings.
It was announced that, after the marriage, Mrs Parker Bowles would take the title Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, and that once the Prince accedes to the throne she would not be known as Queen Camilla but as Her Royal Highness The Princess Consort.
This form of address is believed to be based on that used by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who was the Prince Consort. The best wishes from Queen Elizabeth suggest that consent has been granted under the Royal Marriages Act 1772.
However the subject has been reopened on 22nd March, with the suggestion that the law would have to be changed if Camilla is not to be known as ‘The Queen’ from the time Prince Charles becomes The King. It seems that once again the royal household were hoping that a fudge would slip through without anyone noticing that they were trying to make a significant change of what has been the historical position - as every schoolchild knows, the king’s wife is the queen!
What if this marriage goes wrong one day? The Prince of Wales has rejected legal advice to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement with Camilla Parker Bowles before they marry in 12 days, reported the Telegraph on March 28th. A US reader asks us for more on this.
Should the marriage be retimed to avoid a possible clash with the Pope’s funeral? Shortly after we raised that question Clarence House announced that the wedding would be postponed to Saturday, and that Prince Charles would attend the Pope’s funeral on Friday.