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PM makes his regrets official on royal wedding

Prince William and Kate Middleton take part in a cancer fundraising event in in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 8, 2011.

Peter Morrison/AP

It's official: Stephen and Laureen Harper will not be attending the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton - and no one will be going in the Prime Minister's place.

Nina Chiarelli, who is holding the fort in the largely abandoned PMO communications shop, said Mr. Harper had to send his regrets as a result of the election campaign.

"The Prime Minister and Mrs. Harper will not be attending," she said. "They do send their best wishes to the future newlywed couple and nobody will be going in their place."

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The government had previously signalled this would be the case but had not done so on the record.

The Prime Minister's invitation is considered to be non-transferrable.

The wedding day is scheduled for Friday, April 29, which is simply unworkable given that election day in Canada is Monday, May 2.

Nonetheless, Canadians still seem to think Mr. Harper should go. A recent public opinion survey by Abacus Data for Sun Media found 59 per cent of 1,000 Canadians said Mr. Harper should still attend the Royal Wedding in spite of the campaign.

Canada will still be represented.

The official invite list for the exclusive affair - only 1,900 invites were sent for the service - includes "Governors-General and Prime Ministers from the Realms."

That would be the Realms of the British Commonwealth, meaning Canada's Governor-General, David Johnston, and his wife Sharon will be there.

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A Commonwealth Realm is a country that has The Queen as its Monarch.

In addition to Britain and Canada, there are 13 other Realms: Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Barbados, Grenada, Solomon Islands, St Lucia and The Bahamas.

The newlywed couple is planning a Royal Tour of Canada this summer from June 30 to July 8. They will visit Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and the National Capital Region.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

A member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1999, Bill Curry worked for The Hill Times and the National Post prior to joining The Globe in Feb. 2005. Originally from North Bay, Ont., Bill reports on a wide range of topics on Parliament Hill, with a focus on finance. More

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