Royals deny wedding rumors

— Princes Charles' office says he hasn't changed his plans, and Buckingham Palace won't talk at all. But a published report claims that Queen Elizabeth II has agreed that her son, Prince Charles, may marry his longtime lover Camilla Parker Bowles, perhaps in 2003.

At Charles' official residence, St. James's Palace, the official line remained that Charles had no plans to marry. "The position has not changed," said a spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The William Hill betting shops did take the report seriously, shortening the odds of the couple tying the knot within the next two years from 5-1 to 3-1.

A marriage is thought to be problematic because both are divorced. Charles would be free to marry in the Church of England because his former wife, Princess Diana, is dead, but Parker Bowles' former husband is alive. The Church of England frowns on such second marriages, but is in the process of reconsidering that policy.

The Spectator article revisited the well-worn speculation about whether a marriage would be compatible with Charles' destiny to be monarch and head of the Church of England, whether it would be an offense to the memory of Princess Diana, and whether the public cares.

The Spectator article said there wouldn't be a marriage next year, lest it interfere with celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the queen's accession.


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