London, Nov. 14 (Reuters): British royalty braved out its biggest crisis since the death of Princess Diana today to dress up for a gala bash in honour of Queen Elizabeth and her son and heir Prince Charles.
Friends of Queen Elizabeth — whose Golden Jubilee year is threatening to turn into a second “Annus Horribilis” as she famously called an awful 1992 — organised the evening party at the Ritz hotel in honour of her 50 years on the throne.
It also coincided with the 54th birthday of king-in-waiting Prince Charles.
Accusations of homosexual rape and fraud by his staff are at the heart of the worst bout of scandal to hit the House of Windsor since the much-publicised infidelities of Charles and his then wife Diana in the 1990s.
Not since Diana died in a 1997 Paris car crash have the royals faced such intense media scrutiny and questioning about the way they live their privileged lives. Newspapers are celebrating big sales; the Queen’s subjects are enthralled and disgusted by the scandal.
“British tabloids are the worst in the world for elaborating a story to the extremities of truth,” said businessman Richard Brown. “Despite everything, the majority of people want the royal family, but the tabloids are killing them, so who wins'”
Charles attended the party with his lover Camilla Parker Bowles in what is seen as part of a careful process of preparing the public for a possible marriage. His sons princes William and Harry also attended.
The Church of England today lifted its ban on divorced people remarrying in church — a move that could allow divorcees Prince Charles and his lover Camilla Parker Bowles to walk up the aisle.
The church’s governing body the General Synod voted by 308 to 110 to end the ban, but added the condition that it should not turn into a free-for-all for church weddings for divorcees.
“This does not automatically guarantee the right of divorced people to remarry in church. They will still have to discuss it with the clergy,” a church spokeswoman said. Divorcees whose previous spouses are dead have always been allowed to remarry in church, but before today’s change those whose ex-spouse was still alive could not.