UK bishop suspended for Prince William wedding slur

Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:18pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) The Church of England has suspended the bishop who called Prince William and fiancee Kate Middleton "shallow celebrities" and suggested their marriage would only last seven years.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, said on Wednesday he had asked Peter Broadbent, the Bishop of Willesden, in northwest London, to withdraw from public ministry until further notice.

"I have now had an opportunity to discuss with Bishop Peter how his comments came to be made and I have noted his unreserved apology," Chartres said in a statement.

"Nevertheless, I have asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice. I have also been in touch with St James's Palace to express my own dismay on behalf of the Church."

Broadbent apologized on Monday for comments he posted on his Facebook page, which were picked up and condemned by the British media over the weekend.

"I don't care about the Royals," the bishop wrote on the social networking website, saying he was a republican and that there were "more broken marriages and philanderers among these people than not."

"They cost us an arm and a leg. As with most shallow celebrities they will be set up to fail by the gutter press ... I give the marriage seven years," he added.

Broadbent was not immediately available for comment.

The Bishop of London said he had been upset by the comments.

"I was appalled by the Bishop of Willesden's comments about the forthcoming royal marriage. In common with most of the country I share the joy which the news of the engagement has brought," Chartres said.

(Reporting by Karen Foster, editing by Paul Casciato)