Queen 'Will Let Charles Marry'

The Queen of England has given the go-ahead for the Prince of Wales to marry his girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles, a British magazine claimed Thursday. 

An article in The Spectator magazine says that the couple could be wed at a civil ceremony after the Queen's Golden Jubilee, her 50th year on the throne, which will be celebrated in the summer of 2002. 

Political journalist Peter Oborne said that sources close to the royal household revealed that "after the Jubilee, the royal marriage will be the next thing on the agenda." Parker Bowles would not become princess or queen, the magazine added. 

Courtiers were said to be exasperated by the constitutional, religious and legal issues that any such marriage would create. But they were said to feel "it is cruel and absurd that the Prince and Mrs. Parker Bowles should be forced to contemplate old age deprived of the benefit and comforts of marriage." 

"The Spectator is reliably informed that the Queen has come around, somewhat grudgingly, to this view. One well-informed Palace observer says that the Queen accepts that the last great thing she has to do in her reign is to sort out the relationship between Prince Charles and Mrs. Parker Bowles, and in practice that means to smile on a marriage," Oborne writes. 

The article adds that if the Prince became King without marrying, the press would be obsessed with the couple's sleeping arrangements. 

Buckingham Palace sources said last night that no one of importance in the royal household had briefed Oborne, and that his thesis was "entirely speculative." 

One source close to the Queen said, "There are times when certain people float a balloon to test reaction, but they would not do it in the middle of August, and this one certainly did not come from us."