Secret Planning For Prince Charles Coronation Following Death of Queen Elizabeth

LONDON: The coronation of Prince Charles is already being planned, in secret preparations for his accession to the British throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth, The Sunday Times reported.

The newspaper said the Duke of Norfolk, who as earl marshal is historically responsible for coordinating the coronation, was planning to modernise the ceremony, notably by adding a role for non-Christian religious leaders in the ceremony.

"A lot has happened since (the queen's) coronation in 1953. There will be a large number of differences. I don't mind the word modernising," he was quoted as saying.

"I have been secretly planning and secretly thinking and secretly consulting and secretly liaising," the duke said.

But he also stressed that the sovereign, now 78, was still in good health and not likely to cede anytime soon to her 56-year-old son.

The Sunday Times said Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, the office of the prince of Wales, confirmed the review of the coronation operations but referred to it as "contingency planning".

The weekly also reported that Charles got a boost this weekend after a Church of England bishop indicated the prince might be able to marry his longtime partner, Camilla Parker Bowles.

David Stancliffe, the bishop of Salisbury, was quoted as saying: "If the prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles expressed a wish to marry, the proper pastoral approach should be to advise them to seek a civil ceremony which may be followed by prayers of dedication in church."

Given his highly publicised divorce to the late Princess Diana, the issue of his relationship with Parker Bowles, also a divorcee, has drawn controversy and dispute among legal experts.

Charles and Parker Bowles had dated when younger, and maintained an intermittent relationship during their respective marriages.

Charles and Diana's marriage ended in 1996, and the princess died in a car crash in Paris a year later.

The issue of whether the royal heir can marry a divorcee has vexed constitutional experts for years, since the British monarch is the titular head of the Anglican church and thus officially expected to be beyond moral reproach.











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