Spring wedding for Charles and Camilla

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The first part of last week offered absolutely nothing newsworthy. Last Monday's headlines in Britain focused on Ellen MacAurthur, 28, who sailed around the world in just under 73 days, breaking the previous world record. Further, Condoleezza Rice was traveling around Europe to stump for the Bush administration's foreign policy plan. The Brit Awards, the United Kingdom's equivalent to the American Music Awards, took place on Wednesday. However, these stories pale in comparison to last Thursday's wonderful news.

Sitting at my desk, I was thinking about what I was going report this week; then it came to me -- from a headline the British Broadcasting Corporation provided. "Prince Charles to marry Camilla." Even a visit from Kofi Annon could not restrain the media's 24-hour coverage of this announcement.

Though this ought to be an incredibly joyful time for the prince and his bride-to-be, there are many negative spins about the wedding that reduce the forthcoming marriage to the level of the "Bennifer" union.

One such story involves the Church of England. Should he become king, Prince Charles would become the supreme governor of the Church of England. Historically, the church has not supported remarriage of divorced people. Since Charles had divorced Princess Diana, some feel as if he shouldn't marry -- especially to a woman who was also divorced. However, the current and previous archbishops of Canterbury have supported the union.

Further, the couple are making plans for a civil service as opposed to a church-sponsored wedding, apparently in response to the controversy -- though after the wedding, the couple will receive an official blessing from the Church of England.

Another issue surrounds what Camilla's title will be. Since she is marrying the Prince of Wales, technically Camilla ought to be the Princess of Wales. However, that name has already been given to the late Princess Diana. But Charles has some 20 other titles -- one of which is the Duke of Cornwall. So to resolve this issue, Camilla will become Her Royal Highness Duchess of Cornwall.

Further, if Charles does become king, Camilla will not be his queen. She will only be known as the princess consort.

Last year, the BBC reported that of those who had an opinion about a Prince Charles and Camilla wedding, half would support a wedding and the other half would not. Almost 40 percent of the respondents did not care. The few people that I have spoken with in-depth about the marriage said that many Britons blame Camilla for Charles and Diana's divorce. Others are genuinely happy for the couple. This includes the queen and the government -- and the couple required the permission of both in order to wed.

I am also quite happy for the couple. Maybe it is because yesterday was Valentine's Day and I am feeling particularly sappy, but I really think they are truly in love. I give the couple my highest regards and wish them a long and prosperous life together. Although much of the service will be private, I plan to witness any public aspects of the wedding firsthand. I will report on the event in April.

Erick Harris is a graduate of Central High School who is attending college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. This is one of several columns he will be writing from London about his experiences as a semester intern with Parliament.

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