Queen Mother's former home in midst of homosexual weddings row

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London, Mar.24 (ANI): The The Castle of Mey, the former Highland home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother has become embroiled in an equality row after opening its doors to Christian weddings, while refusing to hold ceremonies for homosexual or lesbian couples.

The trustees at the Castle of Mey near John o' Groats, said the late Queen Mother preferred that people were married in a Christian ceremony and that they had decided to offer only Christian weddings conducted by a priest or minister.

Ironically, the decision would have prevented the Prince of Wales who is president of the trustees - from marrying at a castle that has been in his family since the 1950s. The Prince, known in Scotland as the Duke of Rothesay, married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 in a civil ceremony at Windsor's Guildhall.

James Murray, the Trust administrator, said that as the castle did not have a wedding licence, it could hold Christian weddings - because priests and ministers are already licensed themselves. However, in order to hold civil ceremonies it would have to apply for a licence.

The homosexual and lesbian rights group Outrage claimed the Queen Mother would be "spinning in her grave".

David Allison, a spokesman for the group, added: "This seems even more ridiculous given that The Queen Mother surrounded herself with gay people. Doing this at the Queen Mother's old residence is particularly odd. She had no problem with gay people, quite the opposite."

One prominent homosexual member of her staff was her servant the late William Tallon, who was Page of the Backstairs and known as Backstairs Billy. He was regularly seen by her side in the final years of her life.

Christina Stokes, of Stonewall Scotland claimed the decision by the trustees appeared to be a breach of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

The castle was the only home owned by the Queen Mother and the prince spoke of how important it was to her in an episode of Songs of Praise from Caithness four years ago.

The Queen mother saw it for the first time in 1952 and spent years renovating and restoring it. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit there every summer. (ANI)

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