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Good wishes - and a note of warning

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Britain's Prince Charles is to marry Camilla Parker Bowles.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, led congratulations to their son Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles on their engagement.

"The Duke of Edinburgh and I are very happy that The Prince of Wales and Mrs. Parker Bowles are to marry. We have given them our warmest good wishes for their future together," the queen said in a statement.

Other public figures and leaders offered their good wishes to the UK's Press Association and other media outlets -- but reaction among some royal-watchers and analysts struck a note of warning.

Princes William and Harry: The prince's sons are "delighted" at the announcement that their father is to marry Camilla Parker Bowles, a Clarence House aide said. The Prince of Wales' sons want the couple to be happy, the senior official said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams: "I am pleased that Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles have decided to take this important step. I hope and pray that it will prove a source of comfort and strength to them and to those who are closest to them."

Duchess of York: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, who is currently in the United States, offered congratulations to Charles and Camilla. A spokeswoman said: "She is very happy for them."

Diana's brother, Earl Spencer: A spokeswoman for Spencer told PA he would be making no comment on the announcement.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair: The prime minister said he was "delighted for the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles, it's very happy news." He said the Cabinet had sent congratulations and good wishes, adding, "We all wish them every happiness for their future together."

Opposition Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy: "We congratulate Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles and we wish them all future happiness."

Charles' friend, Conservative MP Nicholas Soames: "I'm very, very happy for both the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Parker Bowles. I think it's wonderful."

Winston Churchill, grandson of the wartime British prime minister and a friend of the prince: "They are clearly very much in love. It must be the end of a series of nightmare years for Camilla, every day reading in the papers about being the mistress this and that. They are entitled to have their own happiness the same as everyone else."

Sir Stuart Bell, Second Church Estates commissioner and Labour MP for Middlesbrough: "The announcement that Prince Charles is to marry Camilla is joyous news. The couple have been together a long while and we should all rejoice that a long-standing love match is to be consecrated in marriage. I wish the couple a long and happy future."

Constitutional expert Lord St John: "I am not a bit surprised by today's announcement, and I approve of it very much. I would say 'God bless them.' Constitutionally, there is no reason why the marriage should not go ahead."

Charles' biographer Penny Junor: "All the problems with Diana, all the tapes and everything, Camilla has been lurking in the background. So the queen has been very resistant about this whole relationship. But the fact of the matter is, the prince loves Camilla, he needs her very much."

Constitutional historian David Starkey: "The immediate presumption must be that she is Princess of Wales. People may think that the Diana phenomenon is almost as faded as her fountain (undergoing repairs at London's Hyde Park), but there will be Diana-maniacs who will get cross."

Royal biographer Robert Lacey: "It is pretty clear that people are not enormously enamored by Camilla. People in the future will say that when you compare her style with Diana's, it is very different."

Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine: "When I got a call earlier this morning, I was completely astounded. The fact that it is happening, and that it is happening that quickly is the surprising element here. Charles has always had a strong affection for her. He did love Diana but perhaps in a different way than he loved Camilla. It wasn't such an enduring love."

Public relations consultant Max Clifford: "Camilla is a million miles away from achieving the popularity that Diana did. ... They will need all the PR expertise they can muster. Prince Charles and Camilla getting married and living in a house on one of his estates is one thing, her ever becoming queen is totally different."

He said the royal family's best hope was for the queen's reign to continue for many years, so the British public could "forget" the furor since Charles and Camilla's controversial relationship came to light."Obviously there was a tremendous amount of outrage and outcry. They have done it as gently and as easily as possible so the public has gradually accepted them."

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