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Queen's decision no snub: royal aides

The Queen's decision to skip the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles isn't a snub, his office insisted Wednesday.

The Queen's decision to skip the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles isn't a snub, his office and Buckingham Palace insisted Wednesday.

Queen Elizabeth announced on Tuesday she would not attend her son's April 8 wedding at Guildhall, Windsor's town hall, saying she respected the couple's desire for a low-key event.

However, some royal watchers are skeptical that this is the real reason.

Former palace spokesman Dickie Arbiter believes the Queen won't attend the civil ceremony because of her strong religious faith. A devout Anglican, the Queen does plan to attend a church blessing of the union at Windsor Castle following the ceremony.

"In her eyes she's doing the right thing. She is going to St. George's Chapel, she is head of the Church of England," said Arbiter. "It's very important to her that there is a religious aspect to this."

The couple are having a civil service because Parker Bowles is divorced and her ex-husband is still living. The Church of England frowns on church marriages for divorced people whose spouses are still living.

An expert with Burke's Peerage, the record of British peerage, publicly lamented it will be the first time in 142 years that a British monarch would miss the wedding of a son or daughter.

Clarence House, Charles' office, said the prince is happy with the Queen's decision, since the wedding was always meant to be low key.

A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said the Queen is looking forward to attending the blessing, as well as hosting the wedding reception at Windsor Castle.

Civil marriage legal

The couple did receive some good news Wednesday amid the swirl of controversy surrounding the wedding.

Britain's highest legal official said British law would recognize the marriage, ending speculation that a civil ceremony is unconstitutional. Constitutional experts had questioned whether it broke a 19th-century statute.

"The government is satisfied that it is lawful for the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Parker Bowles, like anyone else, to marry by a civil ceremony," said Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, in a written statement.

The children of the bride and groom will attend the civil ceremony, according to the British Press Association. That includes Parker Bowles' son Tom and daughter Laura, as well as Charles' sons Prince William and Prince Harry.