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Queen not going to Charles wedding

Charles and Camilla: Marriage a sensitive issue.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will not attend the civil marriage ceremony on April 8 for her son, Prince Charles, and his long-time companion, Camilla Parker Bowles, Buckingham Palace has said.

But the monarch would attend a religious service for the couple to be held afterwards, the palace said Tuesday.

The queen decided not to attend the civil ceremony at Windsor's Guildhall because the couple wanted to keep the ceremony low key and her presence would not allow that to happen, a palace spokesman said.

However, she and other members of the royal family will attend the religious service afterwards at Windsor Castle, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, would preside, the palace said.

The queen would also host a reception for the couple at the castle later in the day.

When their engagement was announced on February 10, the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, issued a statement saying they were "very happy" Prince Charles and Bowles planned to marry and offered their "warmest good wishes for their future together."

The couple will marry in a civil ceremony, rather than an Anglican religious ceremony, because the bride-to-be is a divorcee with a living ex-husband.

Prince Charles was also divorced from his first wife, Princess Diana, although her death in 1997 removed any religious impediment to his remarriage.

Williams, who as Archbishop of Canterbury is the top cleric in the Church of England, said the arrangements for the wedding were "consistent" with the church's guidelines concerning remarriage which the prince "fully accepts as a committed Anglican."

The British monarch is also supreme governor of the Church of England, a title Prince Charles will inherit from his mother if he ascends to the throne as king.

Should Prince Charles become king, however, Bowles will take the title "princess consort" rather than queen.

After their marriage, she will be styled as the Duchess of Cornwall, rather than Princess of Wales, as Diana was known.

As the heir to the throne, Prince Charles holds the titles of both Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall.

In other wedding news, Prince Charles will not have a best man at the wedding, it has been revealed.

Heirs to the British throne are usually accompanied by two "supporters" -- the royal term for best men -- when they are married.

But Clarence House confirmed that Charles will not follow that tradition, the United Kingdom's Press Association reported Tuesday.

Some media reports had suggested that Charles' sons Princes William and Harry would perform the role for their father.

A spokesman for the Prince told PA: "There will be no best man or royal supporters. It's not that sort of wedding.

"The two boys will have a role throughout the wedding in so much as being by their father's side."

When he married Diana, Princess of Wales, Charles chose his brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward as supporters.

Meanwhile Tuesday, royal-watchers were saying that the wedding plans of Charles and Parker Bowles were turning into what they termed "a comedy of errors" after doubts about the legality of the ceremony and its change of venue from Windsor Castle to a local town hall.

"Considering they have had 33 years to plan this great event, they have made a ham-fist of it," Daily Mail royal correspondent Richard Kay told Reuters.

"This certainly looks like a comedy of errors. They are looking flat-footed and caught out by events." (Royal comedy of errors?)

British media speculated Tuesday that the couple could even end up having to get married in Scotland as Charles' sister, Princess Anne, did when she married for the second time in 1992.

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