Princess has marriage dispensation

The Princess Royal was granted a special dispensation that would have allowed her to keep secret her marriage to Commander Tim Laurence of the Royal Navy until 48 hours before the planned ceremony.

A provision under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 allows the Registrar-General for Scotland, Dr Charles Glennie, to waive the 14-day minimum notice required. It is understood the rarely-used provision was activated before details of the wedding were released by the Palace.

Sources in Scotland say the couple will marry in the Church of Scotland in Crathie on Deeside, near Balmoral, next Saturday, although neither the time nor the place has been confirmed.

The use of the provision does not represent a 'bending of the rules', as several sources suggested on Saturday, but neither is it much-used, according to Professor Joseph Thomson, of Glasgow University, a leading authority on marital law. 'I once successfully applied to the Registrar-General for a dispensation at the last minute, simply because the people who intended to marry had forgotten to carry out the usual formalities . . . The first time Princess Anne was married, she obtained a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury that effectively allowed her to marry any time, any place, anywhere. This is the equivalent of that.'

Ringing the changes, page 17

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