- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 26, 2005

LONDON — The British monarchy has been seriously damaged by the litany of errors overshadowing the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles, a YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph showed yesterday.

Less than a third of the respondents now believe that the prince should become king. Another quarter said that the monarchy should end when the queen retires or dies.

More than a third of those surveyed said the prince’s marriage would weaken the monarchy. Only 5 percent believed it could strengthen it.

The poll of nearly 2,000 people shows a sharp decline in the popularity of the prince in the two weeks since his marriage to his long-term mistress was announced. More people think that Prince William should become the next king.

When the Daily Telegraph conducted a similar poll immediately after the announcement of the wedding, 37 percent said they were ready to welcome Charles to the throne. That figure has fallen to 31 percent and contrasts sharply with 48 percent two years ago.

Nineteen percent of those asked said their opinion of the prince had declined in the past week, after the series of embarrassing blunders over the arrangements for the wedding.

There was little sympathy for Mrs. Parker Bowles over the amateurish way it had been planned. The catalog of errors, the bride’s friends said, has left her feeling “demeaned and humiliated,” and Prince Charles is said to be “livid.”

Two thirds said they felt not very sorry, or not at all sorry, for her.

The prince’s aides overlooked the fact that by licensing Windsor Castle for the ceremony, the royal home would be available as a wedding venue for the public for the next three years.

The venue was changed to the Guildhall, Windsor’s town hall. Then, questions over the legality of the wedding were raised.

Less than a week later, when it seemed that no further embarrassments were possible, Buckingham Palace announced that the queen and Prince Philip would not attend the civil ceremony. The palace denied it was a snub, saying that the queen had made her decision to keep the ceremony low-key.

But many of those questioned by YouGov on the Internet disagreed. Nearly half said it was a snub.

Although the queen will attend the service of prayer and dedication at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of the castle after the civil ceremony, 52 percent believe that she disapproves of the marriage.

Two thirds thought it was perfectly acceptable for the queen to attend the wedding at the Guildhall, but nearly half said they did not care whether she attended. Twenty-nine percent said she should stay away.

She had said that she would host a reception, but yesterday, the Daily Mail reported that instead of a lavish sit-down dinner reception, the queen will host a modest buffet.

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