Death of Diana Affects Church of England Succession
The present and future heads of the Church of England (Anglican) were in mourning today over the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The princess, 36, was killed this morning in a Paris car accident, along with her driver and her beau, Dodi Fayed. French police say that the car was being pursued by press photographers when it crashed in a tunnel beside the River Seine. Religious leaders in Britain expressed their shock and sorrow at the death of the former wife of Charles, Prince of Wales.
Diana's death comes at a time when the royal family's role within the Church of England is under debate. On August 5, the archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Church of England, publicly expressed doubts as to whether Charles could succeed his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as temporal head of the church if he remarried. Rumors had arisen that the divorced prince would remarry, although the archbishop denied these rumors. The Church of England does not recognize civil divorces and does not allow divorced persons to remarry if their spouses are still living. Diana's death now frees Charles to remarry in the Church of England, but problems with his church succession may still arise if he wishes to marry the woman he has been courting, Camilla Parker Bowles, who is herself divorced.
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson