A Church of England bishop has apologised for “deeply offensive” comments he made over the forthcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, said he had conveyed his “sincere regrets” to the Prince of Wales and to Prince William and his fiancee Miss Middleton for the “distress” caused by remarks he made about the marriage.
In comments posted on Facebook, the bishop warned that the marriage may last only seven years and reportedly referred to the Royal Family as “philanderers”.
He said in a statement: “I have conveyed to Prince Charles and to Prince William and Kate Middleton my sincere regrets for the distress caused by my remarks and the subsequent media attention about the forthcoming royal wedding.
“I recognise that the tone of my language and the content of what I said were deeply offensive, and I apologise unreservedly for the hurt caused.
“It was unwise of me to engage in a debate with others on a semi-public internet forum and to express myself in such language. I accept that this was a major error of judgment on my part.
“I wish Prince William and Kate Middleton a happy and lifelong marriage, and will hold them in my prayers.”
His comments were condemned by Tory MP and friend of Prince Charles, Nicholas Soames, who told the paper: “They (the comments) are extremely rude, not what one expects from a bishop.”
A source close to the clergyman said: “The bishop had actually written he didn’t think the marriage would last more than seven years because of harassment by the press, but I imagine the full quote was not printed.”
A spokeswoman for Clarence House said they would not be commenting on the bishop’s apology.