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EDITIONS
Sunday, 14 July, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Cleric speaks up on Charles wedding
Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles
Church rule changes would appear to allow a marriage
The favourite to be named the next Archbishop of Canterbury said he is committed to church guidelines, after newspaper claims he would bless a marriage of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles.

Speculation is mounting Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Wales, will be named outgoing George Carey's successor by the Prime Minister.

Aides told The Sunday Telegraph he would treat the couple "as any other" and allow them to marry under new Church of England rules, which remove a ban on marrying anyone whose former partner is still alive.

Dr George Carey
Dr George Carey is stepping down from his post
Dr Williams responded: "I have made no public comment on this particular matter and don't intend doing so at this time.

"It is the case that both the Church in Wales and the Church of England have guidelines on marriage and re-marriage after divorce and I am committed to adhering to those guidelines."

The statement would not appear to contradict the newspaper's sources if Dr Williams would adhere to both the old and new rules, which are at draft stage.

Divorcees allowed

The Church of England's ruling General Synod last Tuesday agreed to scrap a rule preventing a church marriage for divorcees whose former partner is still living.

Couples will instead by asked if they have a clear understanding of marriage and of the causes leading to the breakdown of their previous relationship.

The stance is said to be against the belief of the present archbishop.

Prince Charles would want to seek the permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Prime Minister and the Queen for any re-marriage.

He was delighted to have his relationship with Mrs Bowles recognised by his mother two years ago.

Dr Williams' colleagues told journalists the only break-up relevant to his second wedding would be that of Mrs Parker Bowles, who divorced from husband Brig Parker Bowles in 1995.

Eleven percent of Church of England marriages already involve divorcees.

Hot favourite

Dr Williams has become the hot favourite to take over as Archbishop of Canterbury since Dr Carey announced he was stepping down.

Newspapers last week reported Tony Blair, who will have the final recommendation on the successor, had already decided Dr Williams should be appointed.

A well-schooled theologian, he would be the first Welshman in the post for at least 1,000 years.

Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Wales
Dr Williams said he would adhere to rules
A Welsh-speaker born at Swansea in 1950, he has held the Archbishop of Wales post since 1999, before which he was Bishop of Monmouth.

But many church figures regard Dr Williams as a relatively modern, liberal and radical contender.

He has shown he is not afraid to offer moral advice on politics.

He has warned world leaders against heavy-handedness in Afghanistan and has claimed any conflict in Iraq by the US and UK would be "immoral" and "illegal".

He has also called on the UK Government to tighten restrictions on arms sales to developing countries.

The archbishop was on Wall Street, New York, when two hijacked jets flew into the World Trade Center, 200 yards away, on 11 September.


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The contenders

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See also:

13 Jul 02 | Politics
08 Jan 02 | England
08 Jan 02 | UK
23 Dec 01 | Wales
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