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Charles' marriage could be illegal

He was warned during his divorce to Diana that he could not legally marry again, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 03:09 IST
Vijay Dutt

Prince Charles’s marriage to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, is again at the centre of a legal debate, and can become a trigger to those who wish the passing of the throne to Prince William.

A newly-released government document has revealed that Charles was warned around the time of his divorce to Princess Diana that he could not legally marry again.

The document released under the Freedom of Information Act shows that John Major's government insisted a decade ago that the royal family would be forbidden from marrying in register offices.

The advice contradicts the opinion given by the Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer to parliament once Charles announced his engagement last year. The Lord Chancellor omitted to point out that he was overturning recent guidance.

Lawyers and constitutional experts are now accusing ministers of placing in doubt the validity of Charles's marriage at Windsor Guildhall in April 2005 and his succession as King, The Times said.

The document headed “Briefing for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster's Appearance on Any Questions: The Royal Divorce” sets out the Major government's views.

Although the two-page document is undated, it refers to the divorce as a topical issue and makes clear that the Princess is still alive. It can be placed around 1996, the daily said.

The document looks at the constitutional position of a divorced Prince of Wales remarrying or succeeding. Under the heading “Remarriage”, the position is clear.

A spokeswoman for Charles said they “received advice from four different legal sources, all of whom agreed that there was no bar to members of the royal family marrying in a civil ceremony.

First Published: Jun 10, 2006 03:01 IST