Charles and Camilla to 'repent their sins'

Jonathan Brown
Friday 08 April 2005 00:00 BST

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are to address criticism of their relationship tomorrow by paying penitence for previous "sins and wickedness."

When their marriage is blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury at a hastily rescheduled wedding, the couple will go some way towards acknowledging concerns over the adultery which so angered Diana, Princess of Wales.

During the service at the private St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, Prince Charles will be asked directly by the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, whether he has "resolved to be faithful to your wife, forsaking all others, so long as you both shall live?" The Prince will reply: "That is my resolve, with the help of God."

Eschewing more recent updates, the couple will join the congregation in reciting the act of penitence from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

The confessional prayer, written by King Henry VIII's Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, is considered to be the strongest act of penitence in the Church of England.

The Prince and the new Duchess of Cornwall will join in, saying: "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings."

A spokesman for the Church of England played down the significance, saying it was said before communion services every Sunday. "Don't forget it will be said by everyone in the congregation and that includes the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition," he said.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair spoke of his "irritation" after journalist from The Sun drove a "fake bomb" in a hired van into the grounds of Windsor Castle just days before the wedding. The vehicle contained a brown box marked "bomb".

"I am concerned, I am certainly irritated," Sir Ian said. "it looks as though somebody has done something pretty stupid."

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