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Last Updated: Monday, 14 February, 2005, 01:17 GMT
Possible bar to wedding uncovered

Charles and Camilla
The prince and Mrs Parker Bowles first met at a polo match in 1970

The BBC's Panorama programme has uncovered official documents which suggest that Prince Charles could be unable to marry Camilla Parker Bowles by civil ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The documents, dating from the 1950s and 1960s, detail advice given to senior government officials and ministers on the subject of a Royal marriage by civil ceremony and possible reforms of the Royal Marriage Act, 1772.

One of the documents, dated 10 February 1956 and entitled "Royal Marriages. Aide Memoire", comes from the Lord Chancellor's office which contains advice given to the Prime Minister by the Lord Chancellor. It states that

document stating that royals cannot marry by civil ceremony
document stating that royals cannot marry by civil ceremony

"Marriages of members of the Royal Family are not in the same position as marriages of other persons. The statutory facilities for civil marriages are not available in England, but are available in Scotland. In England such marriages are governed by the Common Law"

A later document, dated 13 July 1964, including a minute submitted to the Home Secretary by the Permanent Secretary on 8 July 1964 during discussions as to whether the Royal Marriages Act should be amended or repealed, advises that

"... in England and Wales such a marriage can be validly celebrated only by a clergyman of the Church of England. A civil marriage before the registrar, and marriage according to the rites of any church other than the Church of England, are not possible. In Scotland the position is different."

If you wish to download the documents in full you can do so below. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the documents. It can be downloaded from here:

The 1964 document

The 1956 document

The legal obstacles facing Prince Charles and Camilla

Panorama: Lawful impediment?
14 Feb 05 |  Panorama
Your comments
13 Feb 05 |  Panorama


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