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Is Queen Snubbing Charles?

Wild rumors are swirling around the upcoming wedding of Prince Charles to longtime lover Camilla Parker Bowles after Queen Elizabeth II announced she's not going to the ceremony.

From the day the wedding was announced, notes CBS News Correspondent Sheila MacVicar, plans have been going awry.

A legal opinion was expected Wednesday from the Lord Chancellor, declaring the planned civil ceremony legal, in light of questions being raised as to whether royals can marry outside of a church in Britain.

But, asserts

, the queen's announcement means events seem likely to "descend further into farce."

The word on British front pages is "snubbed," accompanied by a glowering picture of the queen taken the day the engagement was announced, MacVicar reports.

Buckingham Palace insists the queen and Charles' brothers and sister will stay away from the civil ceremony to keep things low-key, an explanation met with a snort of derision among royals watchers, MacVicar points out.

"If anyone thinks this wedding is going to be low-key, they're very much mistaken," remarked royal photographer Arthur Edwards. "It's gonna be a mega, mega occasion. And whatever reason she gives for not going, I consider it just to be a snub."

The queen will attend a church blessing and host a reception at Windsor Castle. But she's also reported to have told Charles she thinks the civil ceremony now planned is vulgar.

Even at public performances, behind some humor, there has been evidence of a gulf between mother and son, MacVicar adds. And many will interpret the queen's decision to stay away from the ceremony as proof she disapproves of the marriage.

Still, a TV poll in London Wednesday found had 80 percent of callers saying she is doing the right thing.

, the editor of "Majesty" magazine, isn't so sure the "S" word applies here. "For 50 years, the queen's avoided controversy and I think she's sitting on the fence on this one. She's obviously being advised by her prime minister, Tony Blair, that, because there are problems with the legality of this ceremony, that it's better that she keep out of it. That's the way she's always been. She's acting not as a mother here, but as queen.

"I think the queen has not only taken the advice of her own advisers, but the advice of the prime minister, too. And I think that she is not snubbing her son, but I think she's taking the middle road, which she's actually done all Prince Charles' life.

The queen is hosting a wedding party with 700 people. And Charles and Camilla were hoping to get married inside the castle, but that plan was derailed when it was discovered that if the prince gets married inside the castle, anyone can get married inside the castle for the next three years.

"The people," Seward continues, "are slightly divided about this wedding, anyway. I think the queen realizes that for the moment, for today at least, people will say this is a snub, but remember, the royal family isn't a soap opera. This would be a great soap opera story, but they're not. She's head of state. And I think she feels it's more dignified to stand back, under the circumstances."