In what many will view as a shocking development, the Prince of Wales wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles has been rescheduled again and the venue has also been changed. Originally planned to occur at the Guildhall in Windsor on Friday, April 8th, and then moved to April 9th, Clarence House today announced that the ceremony would be taking place on Friday, April 8th at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
The Prince and Mrs. Parker Bowles returned from a skiing trip today and had made the revised wedding plans while on holiday.
Charles will be attending the funeral of Pope John Paul II on Friday and the couple decided to take advantage of that trip to have their wedding in romantic Italy. Camilla had not originally planned to attend the funeral but the desire to be together, and to have a turnout similar to that of Charles' first wedding (to Diana Spencer), led to the change in plans.
Some have questioned the decision for the couple to be married in the heart of Popish-knavery but others have pointed out that since the Pope has died the risk to the couples' immortal souls is minimal. More troubling are the leaked plans for the couple to hold their wedding vows in concert with the Pope's funeral.
"To me, this is the epitome of media-whoredom," commented one of the Prince's critics on condition of anonymity. "The very fact that they have made a point of discussing their wedding at all is troubling, for frankly, how many people even cared to begin with; but now, to have a Catholic ceremony with the couple standing beside the Pope's body is troubling in the extreme."
A Clarence House spokesman, sensitive to the possible criticism said: "HRH the Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles feel that this is an important opportunity to heal one of the fundamental rifts in Christendom. While there are no illusions that this alone will undo the changes wrought by the Reformation, His Royal Highness hopes that it will show the world's Catholics that he respects their faith and beliefs."
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls was effusive in his praise of the decision. "Praise God that His Holiness, even in death, is performing miracles of reconciliation," he said through an interpreter. "It is for actions like this that Pope John Paul II will be best remember and for which he is being seriously considered for beatification. The world-wide Catholic community is looking eagerly forward to sharing this moment of joy with Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles, even as we are sharing a moment of supreme sorrow with one another."
The couple is reportedly in conversation with the Saudi Royal Family to spend their honeymoon the holy city of Mecca.