Marriage faces new legal hurdles

A host of legal problems are besetting the proposed marriage of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles.

A host of legal problems are besetting the proposed marriage of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles.

Despite reassurances from the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, that the adoption of the Human Rights Act puts the wedding on a firm legal footing, doubts remain on whether members of the Royal Family can marry in a register office.

England's most senior family lawyer, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, could be dragged into the row. She is expected to be consulted by the Len Cook, the Registrar General for England and Wales, as he investigates complaints to the match, known as caveats. Any decision to allow the wedding could be subject to a judicial review, a prospect that means Mr Cook is likely to take care investigating any objections.

And there is concern that the law allows the public "unfettered access" to civil ceremonies to allow the public to make objections. The Prince's aides are hoping health and safety legislation may be used to bar the public to Windsor Guildhall once the maximum of 120 people are inside.

Legal opinion is also split as to whether Camilla automatically becomes Queen if Charles is crowned King.

According to Dr Stephen Cretney, Emeritus Fellow of Legal History at Oxford University, "the conventional view of English law" requires an act of Parliament to prevent the wife of the monarch being called Queen.

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