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Britain Revokes Wedding Invite for Syria Envoy

Queen Syria

In this March 3, 2005, file photo, Queen Elizabeth II receives the Ambassador of Syria, Sami Khiyami, at Buckingham Palace, London. (AP2011)

Britain announced Thursday it had revoked a royal wedding invitation to the Syrian ambassador because of violent attacks on protesters by the regime there.

Human rights groups had criticized the decision to invite Ambassador Sami Khiyami to Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials at Westminster Abbey.

Ambassador Khiyami says he is "embarrassed" and does not understand his exclusion from the wedding, according to Sky News.

More than 450 people have been killed since last month in the uprising against President Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime, with 120 dead over the weekend, according to the U.N.

The government said ambassadors from all countries with which Britain has "normal diplomatic relations" had been invited to the wedding-- some 185 in all.

"It's a family wedding, not a state occasion," a Downing Street spokeswoman told Sky News.

But the Foreign Office said Thursday that "in the light of this week's attacks against civilians by the Syrian security forces, which we have condemned, the Foreign Secretary has decided that the presence of the Syrian ambassador at the royal wedding would be unacceptable and that he should not attend."

It said Buckingham Palace shared that view. Prime Minister David Cameron's office said he also endorsed the decision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.