It could be a Scottish wedding for Prince Charles and his girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles. The Sunday Times says Prince Charles has held secret discussions with the Church of Scotland. It allows divorcees like him and Parker Bowles to marry in a religious ceremony. In the past Prince Charles has ruled out remarrying. But the media has been rife with speculation that Prince Charles is making moves to marry the woman he's loved for 28 years, the woman blamed for the break-up of his marriage to Princess Diana.
But there's more: Two weeks after Queen Elizabeth II relented and met Camilla Parker Bowles at a social function, Prince Charles will take his longtime love to an official dinner this week, Britain's Press Association reported Sunday.
A spokeswoman at St. James's Palace, the prince's London residence, confirmed that Charles is hosting the dinner Tuesday at the new headquarters of the Prince's Foundation charity, but refused to say whether Parker Bowles would attend.
Celebrity guests at the function in a refurbished warehouse in London's East End include Virgin Atlantic Airways chief Richard Branson, designer Donatella Versace, and British racing driver David Coulthard, Press Association said.
"The prince has been told that there would be no obstacle to his marrying [in Scotland]. He and Parker Bowles would be very welcome," a source close to the discussions said in the Times.
Nobody at St James's Palace, the official residence of the 51-year-old heir to the throne, or Buckingham Palace was available for comment.
The paper said senior sources within the Church of Scotland had confirmed that Charles' aides were investigating a Church of Scotland wedding.
"St James's Palace is exploring the feasibility and ramifications of marriage in the Church of Scotland," sources close to the head of the Scottish Church said.
The Sunday Times quoted a senior Buckingham Palace source as saying: "It is Charles's long-term intention to marry Camilla."
A royal source even told the Sunday Times that possible venues had been discussed for a wedding between Charles and Camilla, 52.
Marriage has been a difficult issue for Charles and Parker Bowles, both divorced, because of the royal family's links with the Church of England, of which Charles should one day become Supreme Governor.
The presence of Parker Bowles would be another landmark in an increasingly successful campaign by Charles and his advisers to gain public acceptability for the woman who was blamed by Charles' ex-wife, the late Princess Diana, for the breakup of their marriage.
At least officially, palace press officers still don't make announcements about Parker Bowles, 52.
"The prince will be at the dinner," a St. James's Palace spokeswoman told The Associated Press, but added she was unble to comment on Parker Bowles. The spokeswoman described the dinner as "semiprivate."
After the queen met Parker Bowles at a lunch that Charles, 51, hosted for ex-King Constantine of Greece two weeks ago, royal aides said Parker Bowles, a divorcee, would not attend "official" engagements.
Also Sunday, an opinion poll indicated that Charles' elder son, Prince William, who turns 18 this week, is running neck-and-neck with him as the preferred successor to the 74-year-old queen.
National Opinion Poll reported for The Sunday Express that Charles and William each scored 44 percent among the 1,004 voters questioned. The remainder had no opinion or wanted neither prince as king. The error margin was 3 percentage points.
Earlier this month the English Church was said to be holding a referendum over plans to drop its ban on second marriages when a former spouse was still alive, as is Camilla's ex-husband.
But the Sunday Times said sources close to the Church of England talks had told it that despite the referendum the church would still forbid remarriages where one of the partners had been involved in the breakdown of a previous marriage.
Charles's wedding to Diana ended in 1996 with admissions of adultery on both sides.
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