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Prince Charles sets a wedding date -

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MAXINE McKEW: Following the announcement that Prince Charles is to marry his long-time companion,
Camilla Parker Bowles, the first editions of the British newspapers are reflecting the mixed
reactions of the nation. From London, Kirsten Aiken reports.

JOURNALIST: How are you feeling, ma'am?

CAMILLA PARKER BOWLES: Um, alright. I'm just coming down to earth.

JOURNALIST: Did he get down on one knee to propose?

CAMILLA PARKER BOWLES: Of course.

JOURNALIST: Are you very happy, sir?

PRINCE CHARLES: Yes.

KIRSTEN AIKEN: A royal wedding. It's guaranteed to sell papers and generate excitement, or is it?
The mixed reaction to news of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles' engagement is best
illustrated by a flick through the British newspapers. The right leaning Daily Telegraph gives a
straight tell - the headline reads "Charles to marry Camilla"; whereas one of the original redtops,
the Daily Star, gives the story a somewhat different slant - the headline reads "Boring old Charles
gets to wed". Look inside, and depending on your point of view, you risk being amused or offended.
The A to Z of how the royal entourage decided to spin the announcement is canvassed in the liberal
Guardian. It explains how aides advised that a slow courtship would help the public to gradually
accept Mrs Parker Bowles, the woman Prince Charles' first wife, Diana, blamed for contributing to
the breakdown of her marriage. The first opinion polls suggest the strategy has worked.

NEWS ANCHOR: 65 per cent say "yes", they should marry; only 24 per cent oppose the idea. Now,
that's a big turnaround from polls before the announcement, suggesting a Britain each more evenly
split. But it doesn't necessarily mean, I don't think, the country wants bells to ring and street
parties.

WOMAN: Lots of people feel that it's wrong, but yeah, I think they've been together a long time.

WOMAN: I just think it's a bit stupid, the situation as it is now. I think they might as well be
married.

MAN: The nation will be sort of half half divided, and that is not really the purpose of the
monarchy. The purpose of the monarchy is to unite.

KIRSTEN AIKEN: But if the public is ambivalent about whether the two should marry, that does not
appear to be the case when it comes to the question of whether Prince Charles should succeed his
mother to the throne.

NEWS ANCHOR: Back in 2002, a similar poll asked whether Charles should be the next king or if the
title should skip a generation to William. 48 per cent backed Charles; 28 per cent wanted it to be
William. The following year, it was 38 Charles, 37 William. Today, after news of his marriage
plans, only 37 per cent backed Charles and 41 per cent wanted William.

MAN: If he's going to get married, then I don't think he's fit to be king of the country. I think
he should just step aside and let William take over.

MAN: I think he may still have a long time to wait, but certainly, I don't see any reason why he
shouldn't be king.

KIRSTEN AIKEN: But should you have the impression this is the only story Britons are talking about,
let me leave you with a look at the Independent. The paper is adamant that there are matters of
greater importance for the Queen's subjects to consider the story titled "Charles to wed" appears
on page 6.

MAXINE McKEW: In Australia, the Prime Minister and the Governor General have welcomed news of the
wedding. Greg Jennett reports.

GREG JENNETT: The Bojangles bar in Alice Springs is in the grip of wedding fever. The Prince is due
in town later this month, and Alderman Ernie Nicholls wants to give him a buck's night he'll never
forget.

ERNIE NICHOLLS (ALICE SPRINGS COUNCIL): He deserves a good night out, and I think here in Alice, at
Bojangles here, live web cam, mum and dad can check him out.

GREG JENNETT: In Wollongong, royal fanatic Janet Williams is also putting on drinks for the happy
couple. Outside and in, her home and castle is a bulging monument to the royal family, with no
space left for another member.

JANET WILLIAMS: No, I will never have a room for Camilla.

GREG JENNETT: On the streets, the royal subjects seemed unsure of what to make of the news of their
future king and consort.

WOMAN: I suppose it's about time he made an honest woman out of her.

BOY: I reckon it's alright. If they're happy with it, I'm happy with it, I guess.

GREG JENNETT: The Governor General sends his best wishes. So does the Prime Minister.

JOHN HOWARD (PRIME MINISTER): They've had a long relationship. It is an entirely sensible, natural
thing to do. I'd be very surprised if a logical argument could be mounted against them.

GREG JENNETT: He says the wedding has no relevance to the republic debate in Australia. Republicans
aren't so sure.

JOHN WARHURST (AUSTRALIAN REPUBLICAN MOVEMENT): Neither Charles nor Camilla have the instant
recognition or probably the instant affection that many Australians have for Diana and the Queen,
so I think that will change the balance towards the republic even further.

DAVID FLINT (MONARCHIST): I don't think, of course, that it is a matter which causes us to
reconsider the question of whether or not we should fundamentally change our constitution.

GREG JENNETT: Prince Charles arrives in Perth in just over a fortnight. His fiancée is not expected
to be with him.