Prince Charles to Marry Camilla Parker Bowles

02/10/2005 at 08:00 AM EST

Prince Charles to Marry Camilla Parker Bowles
Camilla Parker Bowles
John Stillwell/Pool/AP
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are to wed, his office has announced.

After a relationship that has spanned decades and, as Princess Diana claimed, was instrumental in the break-up of her marriage to the prince, the couple will walk down the aisle on April 8.

Arriving at an event at Goldsmiths' Hall in the city of London, Charles told reporters who congratulated him: "Thank you very much, you're so kind. I'm very excited."

The couple are set to wed at Windsor Castle in a civil ceremony followed by a blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. It's likely to be at St George's Chapel, the venue for the 1999 wedding of Charles's brother Prince Edward to Sophie Rhys-Jones.

One thing is certain – it will not match the pomp and ceremony of Charles's wedding to Princess Diana at St. Paul's Cathedral in 1981. The wedding will be attended by a congregation largely made up of "family and friends," a senior palace official says.

They will follow the service with a short honeymoon of a week to 10 days at Charles's Scottish hideaway, Birkhall, on the Queen's Balmoral estate.

Parker Bowles will be given the title Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, removing any chance of her being called the Princess of Wales, which would be problematic so soon after Princess Diana's death in 1997.

Moreover, when Charles, 56, becomes King, Camilla will be known as Princess Consort. This irons out any issue of the Camilla being called Queen – something that has never been popular with the British press.

The engagement ring that Charles gave to Parker Bowles is a Royal Family heirloom, the palace says. The platinum ring has a square-cut central diamond with three diamond baguettes on either side.

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