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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 11:51 GMT
Prince not feeling snubbed - aide
Prince Charles and Camilla
The wedding is due to take place on 8 April in Windsor Guildhall
The Queen's decision to stay away from the civil marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles is not a snub, the prince's aides have insisted.

"The civil ceremony was always meant to be low key," a spokesman for Clarence House said, adding the prince was happy with the arrangements.

The Queen will attend the blessing and reception at Windsor Castle on 8 April.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the Queen was "very pleased to give the wedding reception at the castle".

"The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family will, of course, be going to the service of dedication at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle," the spokeswoman said.

The Duke of Edinburgh will also not attend the civil ceremony in Windsor's Guildhall.

However, Prince Charles' sons William and Harry will attend and may be asked to be official witnesses, Clarence House added.

Legal row

Mrs Parker Bowles' children, Tom and Laura, are also planning to be at the civil ceremony.

It could be security, that she doesn't approve, or that she doesn't care - a position which would unite her with the majority of her subjects
Dr David Starkey

The spokeswoman said: "The Queen's prime concern is that the civil ceremony should be as low key as possible, in line with the couple's wishes."

Asked if this was a royal snub, the spokeswoman replied: "The Queen is attending the service of dedication and paying for the reception - this is not a snub."

The revelation comes on the heels of concerns over whether a member of the Royal Family can in fact marry in a civil ceremony.

In response, the Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer - the most senior legal figure in the land - is to give a written statement to the House of Lords on Wednesday outlining the legal position.

'Security reasons'

Commenting on the Queen's decision to stay away historian Dr David Starkey said "one can only speculate on the reason" behind the Queen's decision.

"It could be security, that she doesn't approve, or that she doesn't care - a position which would unite her with the majority of her subjects," he added.

Lord St John of Fawsley, a constitutional expert who knows Prince Charles, said the Queen had made a "good decision" not to attend the civil ceremony and it was a decision she had made amicably with the engaged couple.

This will be perceived around the world as a massive snub to both Camilla and Charles
Mike, Wigan, UK

"It's not a snub, that really is quite dotty," he told BBC News.

He said she had clearly shown her approval of the wedding but as Supreme Governor of the Church of England "does not want to go to a wedding at a register office".

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the Queen had "concerns and anxieties" about the wedding.

"The Queen, in her heart, doesn't feel entirely at ease with this marriage," he said.

Camilla shows off her engagement ring
Camilla's engagement ring had belonged to the Queen Mother

The marriage ceremony was to have been held at Windsor Castle but was switched last week amid concerns over the licence.

Apparently, royal aides failed to realise the licence required would have run for three years, meaning anyone could apply to marry there during that time.

The Sun newspaper's royal photographer, Arthur Edwards, branded the arrangements for the wedding so far as "a catalogue of cock-ups".

"This is a lame excuse. The reason she is not going, it seems to me, is that it is a civil ceremony in a register office and she does not feel she should be there."

Royal expert Dickie Arbiter agreed. "I think any parent would be a bit fed up with the way this has unfolded.

And he warned: "I do not think we have seen the end of it, there will be a lot more to come."

The legal wrangles surrounding the wedding


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