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Is the royal marriage legal?
 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:57 pm    Post subject: Is the royal marriage legal? Reply with quote

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Newly released government papers have cast doubt over the legality of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall’s marriage.

According to official government documents, at the time of his divorce to Diana, Princess of Wales, any subsequent marriage would have been invalid.

John Major’s Government advised at the time that Charles and any other divorced member of the royal family would not be allowed to marry in register offices.

A Clarence House spokesperson said “We 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. The main advice came from the Government. The marriage of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall is legal and valid. It has no bearing on the succession to the throne.” The spokesperson could no be drawn on the reason why the advice had changed between the time Charles divorced Diana until his marriage to Camilla saying “That is obviously a question for the Government.”

Even though the government had already received notice that any marriage would be invalid in 1996, Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton did not pass this on in his advice to the Blair government last year.

The doubts stem from The Marriage Act 1836,which created civil marriages. It states that it “shall not extend to the marriage of any of the Royal Family”. A subsequent act, The Marriage Act 1949 also states “Nothing in this Act shall affect any law or custom relating to the marriage of members of the Royal Family.” This means that no repeal of the ban on royal family members to marry in a civil wedding ceremony had taken place.

This news is causing great concern to lawyers and constitutional experts alike with some saying that this places great doubt over Prince of Wales' marriage to Camilla and his eventual succession to the throne.

Ironically, had Diana, Princess of Wales lived and wanted to remarry, she would not have faced the same problem. Under the Royal Marriages Act 1772 the Princess was exempt because she was not a member of the royal family. All members must seek the monarch’s permission to marry.
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