Charles’ marriage illegal, claim

Prince Charles’ second marriage may not be legal, secret documents have revealed.

The government have been accused of a cover-up, after confidential Whitehall papers suggest Charles and his now-wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, should have been told of the law banning them from marrying in a civil wedding.

The couple tied the knot in 2005 after then-Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer overruled claims the British royal family can’t marry in a registry office.

However, politician Norman Baker insists the confidential files should be made public to determine if the marriage is legal.

Baker said: “This would appear to be yet another example where the government provides legal advice which it deems convenient rather than accurate. It seems they may have done in the case of the royal wedding.”

The row surrounds the Marriage Act of 1836 which introduced civil weddings, but excluded the royal family from such ceremonies.

The Marriage Act of 1949 reinforced the ruling, saying: “Nothing in this act shall affect any law or custom relating to the marriage of members of the royal family.”

Many experts insist these acts prevent Charles and Camilla from having a legal registry office wedding. Journalist Michael Jones, who is writing a book about relations between the royal family and the government, claims a new law should have been introduced to allow the royal civil marriage.

He said: “Lord Falconer turned the law on its head. These documents show that parliament never intended to allow royals to marry in a civil ceremony.

“Charles needed a new act to marry Camilla in a register office but Lord Falconer and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair took a shortcut to save time and to appease the royals.”

Meanwhile, a new poll commissioned to mark Charles’ 60th birthday this week, shows only 17 per cent of people want Camilla to become queen when Charles ascends to the throne.

When the same question was asked on Camilla’s 60th birthday last year, 28 per cent were in favour.