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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 March, 2005, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Prince 'must atone' for conduct
Prince Charles and Mrs Parker Bowles
Mrs Parker Bowles' former husband is invited to the service
A leading Church of England bishop has said Prince Charles must apologise to the former husband of his fiancee before their wedding on 8 April.

David Stancliffe, Bishop of Salisbury, said church rules meant the prince should "make good any hurts" before he marries Camilla Parker Bowles.

The bishop, quoted in the Sunday Times, did not specify what form any apology to Andrew Parker Bowles should take.

A spokesman for the prince would not comment on the "private matter".

Prince Charles and Mrs Parker Bowles are to be married in a civil ceremony and will then attend a church service in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The marriage ended in divorce in 1995... and who knows whether the Prince of Wales has apologised?
Dickie Arbiter, ex-Buckingham Palace press secretary

The church recently relaxed its rules on remarrying divorcees whose former spouses are still alive.

But it is known to be divided over the prince's wedding. He will become the Church's supreme governor if he becomes King.

Currently priests are asked to consider whether the divorcees' relationship caused the breakdown of their previous marriages.

Diana, Princess of Wales, was known to blame Mrs Parker Bowles, famously complaining there were "three in the marriage".

Mr and Mrs Parker Bowles divorced in 1995 and the cavalry officer married Virginia Pitman the following year.

'Restoration of relationships'

Bishop Stancliffe, who is an authority on how church services should be conducted, told the newspaper the service of prayer and dedication after the civil ceremony, would encompass prayers of penitence.

He said preparation before such prayers should include "the making good of any hurts, the restoration of relationships and serious attention being paid to the relationships fractured or damaged by misconduct".

The former Buckingham Palace press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, said it was possible the prince had already apologised to Mr Parker Bowles.

He told BBC News 24: "The marriage ended in divorce in 1995... and who knows whether the Prince of Wales has apologised, either by correspondence or personally? Certainly David Sutcliffe doesn't know.

'Church not happy'

"Certainly he would not make it public, it would be between two people and it would be very much a private affair.

"But it does indicate that the church is still not happy and there are elements within the church that are going to keep throwing things up until we get past 8 April."

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said: "The church seems determined that Prince Charles as future supreme governor should meet the same conditions for a service of dedication that would be demanded of any other Anglican."

The couple are to break off from their honeymoon to open a children's playground near Balmoral on 14 April.

The newlyweds will spend their honeymoon at Birkhall, a hunting lodge on the Queen's Aberdeenshire estate.

Why Prince Charles has been asked to apologise


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