Charles Says He Won’t Remarry _ If He Divorces
LONDON (AP) _ He wants to get divorced _ and his mother is urging him to _ but Prince Charles has no intention of remarrying.
The announcement by Charles’ press secretary today is an indication he wants to be king more than he wants to marry his longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles.
It follows an appeal by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, that his public bickering with Princess Diana should end and the separated couple should divorce sooner rather than later.
``The Prince of Wales has no intention of remarrying,″ his press secretary Allan Percival said today. ``This has been the subject of great speculation and we are now making clear the prince’s position.″
Buckingham Palace confirmed Wednesday night that the queen, concerned about the future of the British monarchy, wrote separately to Charles and Diana earlier this week ``and gave them her view ... that an early divorce is desirable.″
The statement said Charles told Diana he agrees with his mother’s plea, but Diana was reportedly in no rush to reply.
Diana, according to the Daily Mail tabloid, was furious that the news of the letters was leaked to the press. At noon today, a car with darkened windows whisked her away from her Kensington Palace home. Some reports said her sons, Prince William, 13, and Prince Harry, 11, were with her.
The queen’s patience apparently snapped after Diana, in a BBC television interview last month, questioned Charles’ suitability to be king.
Both Charles and Diana have admitted committing adultery during their marriage. Diana said she had an affair with riding instructor James Hewitt, and journalist Jonathan Dimbleby identified the other woman in Charles’ life as Mrs. Parker Bowles.
Charles and Diana separated in 1992, 11 years after a fairy-tale courtship and wedding dissolved into coldness and animosity.
Unnamed friends told The Sun tabloid that Charles insists it’s his destiny to be king but realizes the British people would never accept Camilla, divorced from her husband in March, as queen.
A divorce would not prevent Charles from becoming king when his 69-year-old mother dies. But it would be awkward if not impossible for him to marry Camilla and be king.
The British monarch is the titular head of the Church of England, which still frowns on divorce. The coronation is a religious ceremony, and Anglican leaders said today there would be grave problems with Charles becoming king if he were remarried.
``To have a supreme governor who was departing from the principles of the church would involve some considerable difficulties,″ said the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt. Rev. Nigel McCulloch, the church’s spokesman.
Diana would not become queen if there were a divorce. But constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor told BBC-TV: ``As long as they are not divorced she would become queen as soon as Charles becomes king.″
Under the headline ``Diana keeping her options open,″ the Daily Mail today quoted an unnamed friend of the princess as saying that because her lawyers were on vacation for two weeks, ``there is nothing she can do.″
Diana was reportedly ``devastated″ that the letters were leaked to the press and particularly angry because it happened before she’d told her sons.
William and Harry, on holiday from boarding school, are staying with their mother at Kensington Palace before joining Charles for a family Christmas at the queen’s Sandringham estate. Diana has refused to go.
There was no indication how soon a divorce could take place, the palace said.
But under British law, it could happen within weeks. If there are grounds for divorce and both spouses agree to split, all the divorcing couple must do is complete the necessary legal papers and pay a $60 fee.
A judge usually grants a provisional decree, allowing the parties a breathing period. Six weeks later, unless the couple have changed their minds, the marriage is legally terminated.
The London tabloid The Sun said Wednesday that the queen’s move leaves Charles and Diana no choice but to begin legal proceedings for a final split. It predicted that if lawyers’ negotiations went smoothly, a divorce could be finalized in four months.