The last few names are now being added to the guest list for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but one surprise omission from the royal party is already being discussed in court circles. It will not be the Duchess of York who will be watching the wedding on television, as was inaccurately reported in the press, but the controversial semi-royal, Princess Michael of Kent.
I understand that none other than Prince Charles has instructed the guest committee at the Lord Chamberlain's Office that his cousin's name should be excluded. "The Prince has always considered himself the thinking person's royal," a senior courtier revealed. "It has been a source of irritation that, not only is Princess Michael something of an intellectual but that, unlike his, both her children have gone to university." The frostiness between Charles and the Princess is said to date back to her first visit to Highgrove, where she corrected his pronunciation of the German word "Weltanschauung" in front of dinner guests. She has never quite been forgiven.
* Prince William and his bride-to-be have been relaxed about the commercial exploitation of their wedding – "It goes with the territory," William says. But one product has caused displeasure in palace circles: novelty condoms bearing the portrait of the royal couple and marketed under the name "Crown Jewels".
The Prince has an excellent sense of humour, but the revelation that the product is "not suitable for contraception or protection against STDs" has caused concern. It is thought that Crown Jewels will prove popular in parts of Africa and the South Pacific, where the couple are worshipped as semi-divine beings. Promoting faulty condoms to poor families in the developing world is not the kind of legacy of which William's late mother would have approved.
* Following my revelation that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has expressed concern about the wearing of a royal white wedding dress, there has been much speculation on Anglican websites as to the Church's standing on bridal purity. Dr Williams was not, of course, commenting on the royal bride's morals, only on the colour of her wedding dress. I am happy to clarify this matter.