Queen leads tribute to Charles and Camilla

Family, friends, and public figures joined together today to congratulate Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles on their impending marriage.

Family, friends, and public figures joined together today to congratulate Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles on their impending marriage.

The Queen of England and Duke of Edinburgh led a host of family tributes, saying the announcement had made them “very happy”.

In a statement released by Buckingham Palace they said: “We have given them our warmest good wishes for their future together.” Princes William and Harry expressed support for their father’s decision.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the cabinet had sent the couple a message congratulating them on the “happy news” after its meeting this morning, and the announcement was also welcomed by Tory leader Michael Howard and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy.

The Duchess of York, currently away in the US, said she was “very happy” for Charles and Camilla.

The Archbishop of Canterbury endorsed the wedding plans, saying: “I am pleased that Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles have decided to take this important step.

“I hope and pray that it will prove a source of comfort and strength to them and to those who are closest to them.” Dr Williams has accepted an invitation to preside at a service of prayer and dedication following the civil ceremony on April 8.

“These arrangements have my strong support and are consistent with Church of England guidelines concerning remarriage which the Prince of Wales fully accepts as a committed Anglican and as prospective Supreme Governor of the Church of England.”

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said there were “constitutional difficulties” and “voices in the Church who raise concerns” but no “great difficulty”.

He told the BBC Radio 4 The World at One programme: “Absolutists will not want the marriage to happen at all. I think that is a minority position.

“I don’t see any great difficulty. Where there is a will, there is a way and I salute this news with great pleasure and joy.”

But Earl Spencer, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, declined to comment on the match, as did Mohammed al Fayed, father of Dodi who died in the Paris car crash with the Princess.

Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, attending the opening of the new Winston Churchill museum in central London, swept aside questions on the subject, saying: “We are not talking about that. We have slightly more important things to talk about.”

Speaking at the same event, David Frost told reporters: “Like everyone here at this opening, I am delighted. All his friends are absolutely delighted.”

When asked how he thought the British people would react, Frost said: “I think there will be quite a bit of controversy for 24 hours but then I think everyone will be happy and feel that Prince Charles deserves his happiness.”

Conservative MP Nicholas Soames, a friend of the prince, said their decision to wed was “wonderful”, while Winston Churchill, grandson of the wartime leader, told Sky News: “They are clearly very much in love.”

He added: “It must be the end of a series of nightmare years for Camilla, every day reading in the papers about being the mistress this and that. They are entitled to have their own happiness the same as everyone else.”

Representatives from charities supported by the prince and his bride-to-be also sent their best wishes.

The National Osteoporosis Society, of which Mrs Parker Bowles is president, said it was “delighted”.

Chief Executive Terry Eccles said: “Mrs Parker Bowles has shown great commitment to the charity over the past 11 years and her support has helped raise awareness about this fragile bone disease tremendously in that time.”

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