LONDON – Fewer than 30 guests will watch Prince Charles (search) and Camilla Parker Bowles (search) take their vows in a quiet civil wedding ceremony Saturday at Windsor's town hall.
Most of those are relatives of the couple, but one notable family member will be missing: the bridegroom's mother, Queen Elizabeth II (search).
She and her husband, Prince Philip, will skip the civil service — they say they're honoring Charles' wish to keep it "low key" — but plan to join about 800 guests at Windsor Castle for a religious blessing afterwards.
Those present for the blessing ceremony led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will include about a dozen present and former royals from a handful of nations in Europe and the Middle East.
Greece's former king and queen, Constantine and Anne-Marie — relatives of the British royals who live in London — will be there, along with Norway's Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, the Netherlands' Prince Constantijn and Bahrain's King Sheik Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Others sent their regrets.
Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark — glamorous young newlyweds who stole Charles' limelight when their recent visits to Mary's native Australia coincided — said they were unable to make it because Frederik is on a long-planned expedition in Greenland.
Sweden's Princess Victoria was traveling to Japan and unable to attend. Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia, also bowed out, saying they'll be at Chilean President Ricardo Lagos's Friday investiture as an honorary doctor of the University of Salamanca.
Spain's royal palace said after the wedding was moved from Friday to Saturday to avoid a conflict with Pope John Paul II's funeral that the couple still would not attend.
The bride's ex-husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, is expected to attend the religious service, Charles' Clarence House office said. It declined to comment on media reports that several of the prince's former girlfriends from his bachelor days would also be present.
Britain's political elite will be represented by Prime Minister Tony Blair and the opposition leaders Michael Howard, of the Conservative Party, and Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats.
The couple have also invited an eclectic assortment of entertainers, most of whom are their friends.
The sharp-tonged American comedian Joan Rivers plans to attend, along with Joanna Lumley, best known for playing the gin-soaked aging model Patsy on television's "Absolutely Fabulous."
Also invited are actors Kenneth Branagh and Richard E. Grant, "Rumpole of the Bailey" author John Mortimer and veteran broadcaster David Frost.
Figures from the music world include Jools Holland, former keyboard player in 1980s band Squeeze, and actress Trudie Styler, wife of superstar Sting. Sting will not be present. Both Styler and Holland are supporters of Charles' Princes Trust charity.
Shakespearean actor Timothy West will read verses from Wordsworth at the blessing.
Also on the guest list is his wife, Prunella Scales. Although she's best known to comedy fans as Sybil Fawlty in the 1970s British sitcom "Fawlty Towers," Scales has also made a specialty of royal roles.